NAB laws need to be changed

  • And NAB made non-partisan


After about 100 days in NAB custody, a chastened PTI leader Aleem Khan underlined the injustice being committed to those arrested under NAB’s black laws. He severely criticized the authority given to the Bureau to arrest anyone without credible investigation and decide later what cases are to be filed against him. Aleem Khan also said he would call upon his government to change the law.

The same day PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari appeared before the IHC and was told that NAB had so far filed five interim references against him in an accountability court in the fake accounts case besides issuing call-up notices to him, his sister Faryal Talpur and close aides in 36 inquiries. By preparing so many cases, NAB can keep the accused in custody under present laws for years without proving even a single case, unless courts intervene. Under NAB laws an accused can be called for interrogation in one case and arrested in an altogether different case. This has forced the accused to seek pre-arrest bail when called by the accountability body for interrogation.

Musharraf’s military regime created the Draconian NAB law as an instrument for political engineering. The aim was not to end corruption but to use the law to change the loyalties of his opponents and punish those who dared to challenge him. Allowing the Bureau an indefinite time period for investigation by filing several cases against an accused under arrest is in violation of natural justice. The NAB chairman has also been given the arbitrary powers to get an accused arrested at any stage of the inquiry or investigation, and detained in the custody of NAB for three months.

The top leadership of the PML-N and the PPP is the main target of NAB. Driven to desperation, both parties are now preparing to take to the streets. The revival of a no-holds-barred confrontation can lead to chaos, wreck the economy and pose threat to the very system. Time for the PTI government to allay the tensions, by entering into meaningful talks with the opposition to jointly make an accountability law which is both effective and in consonance with the natural justice.