Is everyone a thief apart from NAB, CJP asks NAB chief


–Top judge express anger at NAB’s criteria for accountability

–CDA counsel says NAB initiated inquiry in matter of land acquisition


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday criticised National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal in a hospital construction case and summoned him in his chambers before asking him whether “everyone is a thief except for the probe body”.

A three-judge bench headed by CJP Nisar heard a case pertaining to the construction of a hospital in the federal capital.

While getting disgruntled over the NAB’s criteria for accountability, the top judge said: “One plea comes in and they (NAB officials) start disparaging people.”

“Is there a standard for the NAB’s investigation process or not?” said the CJP.

Justice Nisar said that the bureau starts inquiry in every matter and stalls any progress in the system.

“What if we start issuing warrants of the NAB people and see how it impacts their reputation,” asked the top judge.

As the hearing went underway, the secretary health informed the court that “a 200-bed hospital was constructed in Tarlai”.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan then questioned, “What happened to the hospital which was to be built by the Bahrain government on the land that was to be given by the Capital Development Authority (CDA)?”

When the secretary health said that “nothing was done about that,” Justice Ijaz said, “CDA was directed to make a decision regarding the land within five days.”

Furthermore, CDA counsel told the court that “NAB initiated an inquiry in the matter of the land acquisition”.

Following this, the top judge expressed annoyance over this and said, “The NAB chairman should appear before the court. One petition comes and they drag people’s name through the mud; is everyone except NAB a thief?”

“They initiate an inquiry against anyone who shows up and hurt the dignity of those a single petition is a filed against,” the top judge remarked.

After making the remarks, the chief justice summoned the NAB chairman and prosecutor in his chambers.

Later on, the NAB chief called on the CJP in his chambers and briefed him about the matter and explained his stance. Besides, the CDA chairman and NAB prosecutor general also appeared before Justice Nisar in his chambers.

The NAB prosecutor general clarified that the bureau didn’t stop CDA from constructing the hospital. It had only sought details from CDA regarding some related issue, he clarified. He said the bureau was conducting only an inquiry and it hasn’t given any given any directive to stop the transfer of land.

At this, the CDA chairman responded that the accountability watchdog issued notices to CDA officials after which the authority halted progress on the matter.