NAB seeks action against Fawad for ‘stealing’ credit

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ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau on Friday sought action against Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry after he claimed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was responsible for accountability instead of the accountability watchdog.

The minister made these comments during a TV show with senior anchorperson Hamid Mir on Wednesday. “We had promised accountability. All those who had to be held accountable, we held them accountable successfully,” he said on TV.

When Mir inquired about NAB’s role in the process, the minister said it was specifically the PTI that made accountability possible as NAB was also there in the past.

Fawad also paddled his statement on Twitter as well after the show.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan introduced a narrative against corruption in this country. It seemed as though corruption wasn’t an issue here at all. It used to even be said in political rallies that ‘If he plunders, at least he also puts money into development’. The PTI put an end to this and created a culture of accountability. Institutions existed before too, but no one considered corruption a bad thing,” he had tweeted.

This didn’t go down well with NAB. In a statement issued by its spokesperson, NAB rejected the statement made the minister, saying it invalidates its contributions and is “contrary to facts”.

As per the statement, NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal directed the NAB Rawalpindi director general to acquire an attested copy of Fawad’s remarks from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority (PEMRA)for action against the minister.

“The said statement of the minister can influence and create hurdles in ongoing investigations in NAB. It is worth mentioning that the government has never sent a reference to NAB for accountability.”

“NAB considers the elimination of corruption a national duty and have been discharging their duties with honesty and hard work,” the statement added.

Fawad and NAB had an altercation in the past well, when Fawad, the then information minister, criticised the bureau on his Twitter handle for arresting PTI leader Aleem Khan.

In a tweet, he had said: “Case against Aleem Khan (a senior PTI leader) is less severe. If those charged with devouring billions of rupees can easily get bail then bail should also be granted to a businessman who faces no charges of causing loss to the national exchequer.”

“There is a general impression that Aleem Khan is being punished for a crime he never committed because of the hue and cry from the opposition,” he had tweeted.

NAB, at the time, said it had decided to review the statement of the minister and would take legal actions if the minister’s statement were found in violation of NAB ordinance.