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Senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders met on Monday to discuss the appointment of retired Justice Javed Iqbal as the new National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman, a statement from the party’s central media department said. During the meeting, the party leadership raised questions over the former justice’s qualifications, saying that the “objective” behind Justice Iqbal’s appointment “was unclear”, the statement said.

It can be asserted that the PTI has decided to adopt a ‘wait and see’ policy about the newly appointed chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB). However, it has raised the issue of not being consulted at any stage by opposition leader and the Prime Minister while appointing the head of the apex anti-corruption agency. Former Justice Javed Iqbal, a former Supreme Court judge, has been appointed as new chairman NAB by the government in consultation with opposition leader in National Assembly – a mandatory procedure for appointment of NAB chairman – as the incumbent NAB chief is going to retire today (Tuesday).

Read more: Why are NAB references against Sharif family important?

The wait and see approach is apparent by the statement of the PTI media cell, “We were not consulted at any stage by the NA opposition leader and the government before finalizing the name of the top anti-graft body. Let us see how the new NAB chief proceeds whether he follows in the footstep of his predecessor or gets tough on the corrupt,”.

In recent past, the Supreme Court during the hearing of Panama Papers case declared Justice Iqbal’s predecessor Chaudhry Qamar Zaman-led NAB a ‘dead institution’ after it failed to satisfy the court on numerous occasions about cases pending against Sharif family.

Many observers cite that the retired Justice was the product of an under the tables deal by both the ruling PML(N) and the main opposition party PPP. The PML(N) had its leader Nawaz Sharif disqualified earlier this year and now he & his extended family is facing investigation in accountability courts. The PPP similarly, while not under trial, faces many severe charges of corruption. Many see the current appointment as a way out for both the parties.

In recent past, the Supreme Court during the hearing of Panama Papers case declared Justice Iqbal’s predecessor Chaudhry Qamar Zaman-led NAB a ‘dead institution’ after it failed to satisfy the court on numerous occasions about cases pending against Sharif family. Many assert that it was this state of the anti-graft institute that let rampant corruption run unchecked.

Read more: Nawaz’s short & sweet appearances in NAB; where is the supremacy…

PTI whose agenda revolves around ‘across the board accountability’, is betting on the new NAB chief to run down the corrupt elements especially those who hide under the cloak of influence and power. The PTI has decided to check the performance of the new NAB chairman before giving a final verdict which is why it has stated “The PTI believes that it is also the responsibility of the NAB chairman to bring the remaining persons whose names surfaced in Panama Leaks to the dock,” It appears that the PTI has decided to use the Panama Leaks case as a litmus test for the recently appointed NAB chief.

“If the nation fails to get justice and the verdict turns out to be in favor of Sharif and his family, PTI will be left with only one option –take to the roads to seek justice,” was the forewarning by the PTI chief.

However, PTI has also given a warning of what would ensue if the NAB chairman did not live up to the task. The PTI chief Imran Khan has signaled that he would go for public agitation along the lines of his earlier campaigns especially the Panama Leaks protests which initiated Court proceedings against the PML(N) chief. “If the nation fails to get justice and the verdict turns out to be in favor of Sharif and his family, PTI will be left with only one option –take to the roads to seek justice,” was the forewarning by the PTI chief.

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