There will be no let-up in anti-graft drive: NAB

Px09-050 QUETTA: Jun09 – Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal speaks during a press conference in Quetta. ONLINE PHOTO by Ahmad Kakar

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Javed Iqbal on Tuesday said there would be no let-up in the drive against corruption as he ruled out any sort of compromises with the elements involved in corrupt practices.

Speaking at an event in Islamabad, the anti-corruption chief categorically stated that no compromise would be made over the accountability process – which has witnessed top opposition leaders going behind bars in the past year.

Justice Iqbal reiterated that “NAB is associated with the people of Pakistan and not with any political party or group”.

During his address, Iqbal said that he was not complaining about the criticism leveled against NAB. He, however, urged the citizenry not to look at NAB’s actions from the perspective of those who are on the accountability watchdog’s radar and facing NAB cases.

The watchdog, particularly over the last year, has come under criticism by the opposition parties for indulging in ‘selected accountability’ of their leadership in connivance with the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

“Almost every person, who is on NAB’s radar, against whom there is a reference in court, against whom inquiries have been started [..] or investigations have been started, won’t say good things about NAB,” he said.

The NAB chief said that while multiple people were sharing a single hospital bed in the country, there were others who were going abroad — “London or US” — for treatment “if they get a cold”.

“Are the rest not humans […] God has created everyone equal,” he questioned.

While Justice Iqbal did not refer to anyone in particular but his remarks come only hours after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif departed from Lahore to London for medical treatment.

The PML-N supremo, who has been diagnosed with an immune system disorder, was transported in an air ambulance that arrived at Lahore airport’s Haj Terminal early morning from Doha.

Nawaz is convicted in two corruption cases.

In another apparent criticism of opposition political parties, Iqbal said that it was unfortunate that a child had died in his mother’s lap due to the unavailability of the rabies vaccine in hospitals.

He was referring to a video that went viral on social media in September. It showed a horrific incident in Shikarpur where an 11-year-old child died of rabies in his mother’s lap.

The NAB chairman said that while the child was unable to get the vaccine on time, the budget for the [concerned] government was valued at millions of rupees.

“One province uses its card, the other uses its card. Believe me, this will not have an effect on NAB. NAB has to continue its work,” he said.

The NAB chief appeared to be referring to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government in Sindh where multiple cases of death due to dog bites have been reported recently along with reports of a shortage of the rabies vaccine.