SC issues orders to de-notify NAB officers

  • Ex-army men among officers to go home with pension, perks, privileges

The suo motu taken by former chief justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali over irregular appointments of former army men in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) brought to notice of the Supreme Court through an anonymous letter reached its conclusion when Justice Amir Muslim Hani-led three member bench ordered that four director generals be denotified with immediate effect.

The decision will affect NAB Lahore DG Burhan Ali, NAB Karachi DG Shabbir Ahmed, NAB Quetta DG Tariq Mehmood and Awareness and Prevention DG Aliya Rasheed. Interestingly, all the four director generals will be eligible for pension, perks and privileges. Previously, a total of 35 irregularly appointed employees opted for early retirement, an option that was given to 137 officers to either accept early retirement along with pension, perks and privileges or fight their case.

The court ordered the formation of a committee to look into the matter of those officers whose appointments were found irregular and file its report with the court within two months. In the meantime, till the appointment are made through FPSC, NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry can fill the posts for the time being.

It is pertinent to mention here that the NAB found itself in the eye of storm way before Panama case, as back in July 2015 Justice Jawwad S Khawaja asked the NAB authorities to file a detailed report of inquiries, investigations and references under process. Names of many bigwigs including the prime minister, a chief minister, a former president, a former prime minister, Aftab Sherpao and former ambassador Husain Haqqani figured in the list.

In a reply submitted to the Supreme Court on January 27, 2017 a total of 153 inquiries, investigations and references are under process with top anti-graft watchdog. Out of which, 89 are references, 29 are investigations, and 35 are inquiries. In July 2015, 179 inquiries, investigations and trials were under process. Out of which 81 were inquiries, 52 were investigations and 46 were references are under trial in the courts.

Two investigations are still under progress against the prime minister in NAB. One involves ‘misuse of power’ to construct a road from Raiwand to Sharif Family House that amounted to ‘misappropriation of 125.6 million rupees.’ Another inquiry relates to ‘illegal appointments’ in the Federal Investigation Agency during his tenure as the prime minister.

A reference is under trial against former president Asif Ali Zardari regarding possessing assets beyond known sources of income. According to NAB, the amount involved is 22 billion rupees and 1.5 billion dollars, the case was transferred to NAB from the Ehtasab Commission. Around two dozen inquiries, investigations and references are pending against former prime minister Raja Parvaiz Ashraf.

An investigation against former ambassador and a former information minister Haqqani about issuance of FM channel licenses was closed on May 5, 2016 finding Haqqani guilty of wrongdoing but no further action was possible as he was beyond the territorial jurisdiction of Pakistan. The NAB authorities have repeatedly apprised the Supreme Court over the progress on high-profile cases. Despite this, many inquiries and investigations against the top politicians are underway for more than a decade now with no end in sight.