NAB chairman hits back at critics after allegations - GulfToday

NAB chairman hits back at critics after allegations

NAB

Photo used for illustrative purposes.

Tariq Butt

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal said on Sunday that his investigators would not summon businessmen, bureaucrats and women to their offices for inquiry in future.

Addressing a news conference, he rejected allegations of political engineering and intimidation of business community against the NAB.

Iqbal reiterated that the NAB and economy have been functioning together but his agency and corruption will not co-exist.

His remarks were an obvious reference to former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) supremo Asif Ali Zardar who on more than one occasions said that the NAB and economy can’t function together.

Iqbal said he has never reacted to allegations against him but considers it necessary to respond to accusations against his institution. “Not doing so would have proved harmful for the NAB.”

He said claims that the NAB is frightening businessman are not true, adding that the anti-corruption body was determined to protect business community.

The NAB chairman said some people have wrongfully held the NAB responsible for the current economic situation. “What has NAB to do with dollar’s increasing value? I am neither an economist nor a politician. I started my life from judiciary and my entire career is an open book.”

Iqbal said the NAB has taken no step which could have proved destructive for the economy. “The NAB is not a foreign entity. It’s only aim is to protect business community. Should we play a silent spectator if Rs500,000 are being charged for a work that costs Rs5,000. We have done nothing wrong by asking unscrupulous elements about their corruption. It is a poor country, and the current economic crisis is a national crisis. I am expressing my opinion to clear that NAB has nothing to do with the economic crisis.”

He said the NAB’s regional office in Lahore has received letters from businessmen Arif Habib and Mian Mansha appreciating the anti-corruption body’s performance.

Talking about the claims that the NAB was meddling in Telegraph Transfers (TT), he said his department has done no such thing as far as businessmen are concerned. “It is not our mandate.”

Iqbal, however, added that in accordance with the law NAB can ask public officer holders about legality of their TTs.  “Those who have held public office will be interrogated to curb money laundering. The NAB would ensure that FATF [Financial Action Task Force] removes  Pakistan from   grey list.”

In an unrelated development, a Karachi court dismissed charges of “defamatory remarks against the respected institutions of Pakistan” and “cyber-terrorism” against senior journalist Shahzeb Jillani.

The court held that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) failed to produce substantial proofs against the journalist.

The judge declared the first information report (FIR) against the journalist non-maintainable while categorising the case as “C class.” The case has now been closed due to lack of evidence to support charges against the defendant.

The complainant had alleged in the FIR that he was watching Dunya TV on December 8, 2017 when Jillani, who was the coordinator of the programme, “articulated defamatory remarks against respected institutions of the country while answering questions posed by the show’s host.”

The petitioner had said that the journalist had made remarks against the “invisible security forces of the country” and had alleged that “the law enforcement agencies were directly involved in kidnapping of the citizens, which leads to cases of ‘missing persons’.”

The complainant had said that on March 18, he once again noticed that Jillani had passed remarks through which law enforcement agencies had been “directly or indirectly, deliberately and intentionally accused of influencing the democratic system of Pakistan, due to which the solidarity, sovereignty, integrity and security of the state had been damaged and personal sentiments of the voters/general public had been hurt.”

According to the petitioner, Jillani had first “made a reference to the history of army generals negatively influencing democracy”, then suddenly referred to “the invisible force”, adding that “they select rulers.”