If probing corruption is crime then call us criminals, says NAB chief

  • NAB chief gets tough, snubs critics for questioning ‘inquiries’ into corruption
  • Justice (r) Javed says ‘if probing corruption is a crime then call us criminals’

PESHAWAR: As the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) comes under fire from all quarters for initiating ‘flimsy investigation’ against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif over alleged money laundering, the anti-graft watchdog’s chief, Justice (r) Javed Iqbal on Thursday said NAB remains undeterred in its quest for nipping corruption in the bud in accordance with the law.

It may be noted here that the NAB chief has ‘taken notice’ of a column in a relatively unknown newspaper which accused the disqualified premier of alleged involvement in sending $4.9 billion to India.

In an allusion to the inquiry during an address in Peshawar, Justice Iqbal defended NAB’s conduct and said that it will keep operating as usual even if some find this “upsetting”.

“How is asking about corruption a crime? And let’s suppose it is a crime, then this crime will continue to be committed because it’s in the interest of this country. The situation right now is that we can’t tolerate corruption anymore.”

“The NAB is not in a panic and whatever it is doing it is for the sake of the country,” he said.

The days of impunity are over and everyone will be held accountable, he said.

“They can be asked questions, they can be nabbed and they can also be prosecuted per the law. The stolen money of the nation will be brought back and returned to their rightful owners.”

He further said that the NAB does not need any advertisement or any appreciation. “If someone insults NAB it’s up to them but the NAB has been, and will continue to, exercise its rights in accordance with the law, the constitution and also keeping in mind the dignity of others.”

“I have made NAB courteous,” the NAB chief said, adding that the bureau has always been considerate towards whoever is being probed.

“Whoever has been called in the past six months, has first been served tea and then been quizzed with the utmost respect that ‘you were entrusted with the nation’s money so just tell us where it was spent’,” he added.

He asserted that bureaucracy’s affiliation and loyalty lies with the state and Pakistan. Governments come and go, while, state, on the other hand, is permanent, so civil services should keep in mind the interest of the country before taking any steps.