NAB: From one controversy to another

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ISLAMABAD: When the Supreme Court summoned National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry regarding the illegal appointments in the bureau, on Monday, National Accountability Bureau once again made it into headlines for all the wrong reasons.

While, NAB Deputy Chairman Imtiaz Tajwar, against whom graft cases are under investigation, has been sent on leave on Thursday.

The troubles of NAB are not new, as, during the Panamagate hearing, Justice Khosa led 5- member bench grilled the NAB prosecutor general and Chaudhry over their failure to file an appeal against Lahore High Court decision in infamous Hudaibiya Paper Mills case back in 2014.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed went to the extent of remarking that NAB had died before the bench, while Justice Khosa also showed serious reservations about NAB powers to act against corrupt practices.

Further down the road, back in 2015, NAB submitted to Supreme Court a list of 150 mega corruption cases against bigwigs like Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, former President Asif Ali Zardari, former Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujjat Hussain, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, former Ambassador Hussain Haqqani, and others that were under investigation.

Interestingly, in the two years that have passed, barely any progress has been made in the cases.

But it was the acceptance of plea bargain worth billion of rupees with provincial Finance Secretary Mushtaq Raisani that opened floodgates of criticism for the organisation.

While, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani in his open letter, last year, proposed that a new federal commission for accountability be made under one authority, one law putting an end to all other parallel forums for accountability, the growing disenchantment by all quarters is making the ongoing existential crisis for NAB worse.

‘NAB has proved itself to be a toothless, spineless entity of late. The past performance of the watchdog coupled with the present situation has given rise to the possibility of a restructuring’.

‘Many things lie on the Panamagate verdict as many observers are predicting very strong remarks on the NAB and its chairman’s performance’.

‘It’s about time that restructuring of the organisation begin or else the rot won’t go away,’ said former judge and Supreme Court Advocate Majid Bashir while talking to Pakistan Today.

National Accountability Bureau came into being in 1999 and works under National Accountability Ordinance, 1999. The main function of the organisation is to detect, investigate and prosecute white-collar crime and aims to rid the country of corruption.

 

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