Home Global Village NAB chairman’s statement against corruption is making sense

NAB chairman’s statement against corruption is making sense

Considering the performance of the previous NAB chief, Pakistan did not have high expectations from the newly appointed chairman, Javed Iqbal. However he has surpassed everyone’s expectations and has been able to keep every politician under NAB’s radar, sending off many to face the judiciary.

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News Analysis |

Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, the chairman of National Accountability Bureau, has once again vowed to weed out corruption from the society, claiming that the string-puller of bureau has not been born yet. “I would take my bag and quit the institution if a string is pulled,” stated the chairman.

In an informal interaction with newsmen on Wednesday, the NAB chief asserted that he would be relinquishing his charge provided the graft-buster is coerced into favorable judgment by anyone.

The accountability watchdog which came into being with the promulgation of an ordinance in 1999 has been alleged of nepotism and striking immoral deals with the corrupt individuals under the garb of plea bargain, however, with the appointment of Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, in October last year, the bureau is being widely appreciated by the public and reprimanded by the political class, for intense drive against corruption.

The need of the hour is to let the bureau function with utmost liberty and institutional freedom so that it can differentiate corrupt elements from the upright individuals; the effect of which would definitely reflect in the results of upcoming general elections.

The name of the incumbent NAB chief was put forward by Pakistan People’s Party, after QamarZaman retired, and due to the proponent’s tainted past, almost everyone in the country pinned no hope on the prospects of NAB’s performance, however, the reality turned out to be diametrically opposite as the accountability watchdog is now actually making big guns of politics, accountable.

Under the former NAB chief, the claims of acting against the corrupt individuals fell on a stony ground as most of the stern actions were on paper; however, Justice (r) Javed Iqbal has actually proven his mettle in a matter of only six months.

Read more: NAB investigates PML-N’s KPK President over corruption

A few of the substantial actions taken by the anti-corruption body in recent months include the filing of the reference against four former military generals of Pakistan Army, pursuing the references against Sharif family in the accountability court with full force, arresting and prosecuting Ahad Cheema, former Director General Lahore Development Authority, launching probe into Pervez Musharraf’s assets beyond means, investigations against the Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, summoning Fawad Hassan Fawad, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and grilling Jahangir Siddiqui, the envoy-designate to US (to name a few).

In an informal interaction with newsmen on Wednesday, the NAB chief asserted that he would be relinquishing his charge provided the graft-buster is coerced into favorable judgment by anyone.

Moreover, the role of NAB had become dubious in past as it failed to pursue the cases in courts and did not bother to file review petitions – as in case of Ishaq Dar regarding the Hudaibbiya Paper Mills case – but under the new chief, the bureau is actively presenting documents in courts and challenging the verdicts, it deems unfavorable, as it did in the case of Asif Zardari’s acquittal in the graft cases.

Another factor, which is restoring the faith of public in the functioning of NAB, is the idea of ‘public hearings’ introduced by Justice (r) Javed Iqbal who listens to the complaints of masses on last Thursday of every month.

Not just the chairman, the Director Generals of bureaus in different provinces also follows the same suit, by opting the open door policy. Besides acting against the political gunslingers, the accountability watchdog is also going after the private contractors and financially corrupt officials at the lower level.

Read more: Why is PML-N campaigning against the Judiciary?

In strong-worded remarks, the NAB chief had explained on April 3rd that the drop scene of ‘accountability drama’ had already occurred, vowing that real accountability had started in which the real characters would be exposed. At one end, NAB is intensifying its drive to weed out corruption, on the other end; it is also making efforts not to cast aspirations about the repute of any politician to influence the elections.

The decision to file reference against four former Army generals in the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club Lahore scam has also muzzled the perception that the bureau was only against the politicians, ignoring other influential from power corridors. Part of the recent performance by NAB should also be attributed to the Supreme Court because its decision to make Nawaz Sharif, Former Prime Minister, accountable has instilled in institutions, a new energy with which they can defy the illegal or morally unsuitable orders from the authoritative leadership.

Under the former NAB chief, the claims of acting against the corrupt individuals fell on a stony ground as most of the stern actions were on paper; however, Justice (r) Javed Iqbal has actually proven his mettle in a matter of only six months.

The Panama Papers case would definitely alter the course of history for Pakistan as it boosted the confidence of Pakistani masses in judiciary, NAB and other institutions especially Federal Investigation Agency, whose assistant director named Wajid Zia, through the Mutual Legal Assistance, unearthed the shady dealings of the Sharif family.

Read more: PML-N legislators arrested over abusive anti-judiciary protests

What gives credence to the superb performance of NAB is its active prosecution of the three references filed in the accountability court, on the directives of the Supreme Court, against the members of Sharif family, with the Avenfield Properties reference nearing an end.

The need of the hour is to let the bureau function with utmost liberty and institutional freedom so that it can differentiate corrupt elements from the upright individuals; the effect of which would definitely reflect in the results of upcoming general elections.


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