Political bigwigs, former top bureaucrats come under NAB’s scanner


–Shujaat, Pervaiz Elahi, Hina Rabbani Khar to be probed by NAB

–Former secretary communications Shahid Ashraf Tarar, WCLA DG Kamran Lashari, Abid Waheed Shaikh to be grilled as well


ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday decided to go after political bigwigs from the opposition and treasury benches as former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, former Punjab chief minister and incumbent Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi along with several retired bureaucrats came under the scanner.

The decision to investigate top politicians and former bureaucrats was made at NAB’s Executive Board Meeting (EBM) on Thursday at the NAB Headquarters.

The EBM authorised conducting 13 inquiries against various personalities, including former MNA Ghulam Rabbani Khar and his daughter and former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar; two inquiries against former secretary communications and NHA chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar and others; two separate inquiries against former Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) chairman Siddiqueul Farooq,; former Pakistan Baitul Maal (PBM) managing director Barrister Abid Waheed Shaikh and others, and two separate inquiries against former ETPB chairman, officers, officials and others.

It is worth mentioning here that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had appointed Shahid Ashraf Tarar – a close relative of Saira Afzal Tarar and former president Rafique Tarar, as NHA chief, allowing him to sign major infrastructure deals related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Later, Tarar was handed down the additional charge of federal secretary communications, making him sole the in-charge of all infrastructure projects.

Later, before the end of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government’s tenure, Tarar was nominated from Pakistan to the World Bank (WB). Tarar is serving as the executive director at World Bank Group’s Board of Directors since November 1, 2018.

NAB also decided to conduct inquiry against Dr Muhammad Altamash and others; inquiries against Faisal Cantonment Board Karachi’s CEO, administrative officers and others; officers/officials of Tourism Corporation, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP); Bhai Jan Lakho, Saifullah Magsi, Circle Department of Irrigation, Shafqat Hussain Vado, Javed Memon, Chief Engineer Munawar Buzdar, Abdul Majeed Xen and others, Ali Ahmed Lund, Administrator Municipal Committee, Rohri and others.

The EBM also authorised conducting seven investigations against various personalities, including three investigations against former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and others; investigations against TM Sugar Mills Karachi and others; management of KPT Officers Housing Society and others; former secretary special education Noor Muhammad Leghari,; Principal Secretary to Secretary Special Education Muhammad Ali Khaskheli and others; officers/officials of Balochistan Development Authority (BDA) and others.

The meeting also approved transfer of inquiries of officers and officials of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas’ (FATA) Health Directorate and others to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary for further appropriate legal proceedings as per law.

NAB also accorded approval for the transfer of inquiry against former chief inspector stamps Lubna Salahuddin, Board of Revenue, officers of Sindh government and Messers China International Water and Electric Corporation and others to Sindh chief secretary for further legal action against them as per law.

The EBM also authorised transferring of cases of former ETPB chairman Asif Hashmi, Private Secretary Zafar Iqbal, Deputy Administrator, Kasur Akram Joya and others to Ministry of Religious Affairs secretary for further legal proceedings as per law.

The NAB meeting rejected the request of former Ministry of Water and Power secretary Shahid Rafi to transfer his corruption reference from Quetta to Islamabad on the grounds of it being unlawful.

The meeting also authorised filing of three corruption reference against former Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman Kamran Lashari; former CDA Urban Planning director Ghulam Sarwar Sindhu; former CDA Survey Division director land Munir Jilani, Messers Diplomatic Shuttle and Transport Service Managing Director Muhammad Hasnain Gill; former CDA member planning Nusratullah and others. The suspects have been accused of alleged abuse of authority and awarding licence/contract of Diplomatic Shuttle and Transport Service illegally, consequently inflicting Rs408.32 million losses to the national exchequer.

The EBM authorised the filing of corruption reference against former KP Local Government Department secretary Aurangzeb; former CDA deputy project director Asghar Khan; chief executive officers/directors of Messers Ideal Hydrotech Systems, Pakistan Private Limited. The accused persons have been allegedly involved in misappropriating funds allocated for Clean Drinking Water for All which caused Rs195.043 million losses to the national exchequer.

The EBM authorised the filing of corruption reference against Ashiq Ali Lakhani, former Xen, Hala Division, Irrigation Department, and others for alleged abuse of authority and misappropriation of government funds inflicting Rs30.9846 million to the national exchequer.

NAB accorded approval to close inquiries against officers/officials of DHA, AKD real estate and others; Muhammad Sharif Mugheri, Xen, Irrigation Department, Jacobabad and others owing to the absence of evidence as per law. The meeting authorised closing investigations against directors and others of Messers T&N Pakistan Private Limited, Faisalabad owing to the absence of concrete evidence.

Later, NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, in his speech, said that corruption is the root cause of all ills being faced by the country. He said that NAB is pursuing the policy of zero tolerance and the top priority of NAB is to bring corruption cases to logical conclusion. He said that NAB is sticking to the policy of ‘Accountability for All’. He directed to conduct complaint verifications, inquiries and investigations in light of law by ensuring merit, transparency and that too after collecting concrete evidence.