Rife with internal strife, NAB crumbles | Pakistan Today

Rife with internal strife, NAB crumbles

Continued dysfunctionality, lack of work and absence of a functional head has badly hit the once fearsome accountability watchdog National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and internal rifts and tussles between the top brass of the organisation for lucrative posts has triggered a new controversy that has made the bureau itself accountable to the government and taxpayers, Pakistan Today learnt on Sunday.
Since the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government came to power, NAB was given a backseat and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was given a lead role by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, which triggered many professional and personal feuds between the officers of the agency.
OFFICERS CLASH: “With no one at the top to supervise, resolve issues and decide internal matters, top officers have entered into conflicts and moved courts challenging each other’s eligibility, while the influential have maneuvered well to clinch lucrative offices. But the most unfortunate thing to hit NAB is the triggering of a tussle between the officers having civilian and military backgrounds and both sides are at odds. Civilian officers have challenged seniority of those having military backgrounds while the retired military officers have also challenged each other’s credentials in court,” a source said, adding that officers were busy chasing bonuses and doing absolutely nothing.
“The top officers have created a mess, making changes in the seniority lists and seniors have been turned into juniors while juniors have been made heads of departments and regional offices,” said the source.
INTERNAL RIFTS: The source said the internal rifts had led to the start of a litigation process, with Additional Director Raza Khan moving the Supreme Court to challenge the seniority of some retired military officers.
According to documents available with Pakistan Today, no civilian officer was calling the shots in NAB and retired military officers had “taken over” the body, with Captain (r) Shamsher Ali, actually a director, serving as the acting director general of Lahore, Major (r) Shabir Ahmed working as the acting director general of Karachi, Faizullah Khan, another retired military officer, working as acting director general of Rawalpindi and Col (r) Khurshid Alam acting director general at the NAB Headquarters.
Likewise, the source said, retired military men had been given important responsibilities bypassing the civilian officers despite the fact that the officers having military backgrounds had no experience in dealing with accountability matters, nor had they acquired additional qualifications to get well-versed with the latest investigation techniques or running of affairs at the top.
“The civilians would have tolerated the army men had they been serving officers, but since there is no military government in place, nobody is tolerating them,” the source said.
Soon after taking over as army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had pulled back military officers from civilian institutions but these retired military officers, who had either been superseded by their juniors or had failed to pass their courses essential for promotion, had remained. “These officers are not fit for any accountability job and have no experience on hand either to investigate, expedite or prosecute the cases. This is why the NAB has recently failed to prove its cases in court against well-known corrupt people,” the source added.
“If the government wants to continue with NAB, professionals well-versed with accountability jobs should be appointed at the top as there is a dire need of experts in investigation, prosecution and tracking criminals,” the source added.
Despite repeated attempts, no NAB officials were available for comment.

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