ISLAMABAD: NAB chairman Admiral (R) Fasih Bukhari is under constant pressure and dancing to the tunes of the rulers as his signed but undated resignation letter is lying with the government and was one of the many preconditions for his appointment on this key position, it is learnt.
A reliable source confided to The News that prior to the issuance of the notification of his appointment as a NAB chairman during Yusuf Raza Gilani’s premiership, Bukhari was made to hand over his signed resignation letter to the rulers to ensure that he would behave as per the wishes and whims of his political masters.
The source said under the law the NAB chairman has a four year tenure post and he cannot be removed by the government except through the Supreme Judicial Council following the same procedure that is necessary for the removal of a judge of a high court or the Supreme Court. However, the chairman could resign anytime for any reason.
As a fixed tenure gives independence to the holder of such office, so prior to appointing him as a NAB chairman the precondition was set that he would submit his resignation letter before taking over as the NAB chairman. Bukhari agreed and has thus failed to act independently.
Of late before the initiation of the bureau’s action against the Sharif brothers, the chairman was also indirectly conveyed to prepare for his departure.
The News had also reported that the incumbent Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was considering removing Bukhari as a NAB chairman. The News report had stated: “In Bukhari’s case, however, these sources said that he would be willingly to leave the job as part of his understanding reached at the time of his appointment with the government”.
However, now it is learnt the understanding reached at the time of his appointment was the submission of his resignation letter prior to his taking over as NAB chairman.
Despite repeated efforts Fasih Bukhari remained inaccessible to give his version. His spokesman Zafar Iqbal as well as his adviser Dr Ayesha Siddiqa were sent the questions through mobile SMS but they too did not respond till the filing of the report. Fasih Bukhari, who was considered reputed and clean by many, has been controversial as NAB chairman from day one as his appointment was not supported by the leader of the opposition and thus was bulldozed by the government.
Consequently the appointment was immediately challenged in the apex court where the petitions questioning his appointment are waiting to be heard by the Supreme Court.
However, in the meantime the NAB under Bukhari served as a perfectly tamed body in favour of the rulers and the mighty and powerful. No less than the Supreme Court reprimanded Bukhari for protecting the corrupt instead of proceeding against them.
Besides delivering to the government expectations in several other cases, the NAB chairman has also done well for the regime in the RPPs case in which the incumbent Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was one of the accused. Many of his past admirers are finding it hard to figure out as to what had really made Bukhari to compromise to such levels.
The NAB under Bukhari did everything to please the rulers not only by offering friendly prosecution in the NRO cases but also by suppressing or distorting the fair investigations into the mega corruption cases of the Gilani’s tenure.
The NAB chairman’s independence was also exposed when he himself in a recent press conference announced that the Sharifs cases would not be reopened because of the upcoming general elections but within weeks of his public statement he formally moved to reopen the alleged corruption cases against the Sharifs.
On the other hand he is on record having said that corruption of Rs8 billion per day was rampant but he failed to explain what he had done as the chief of the country’s largest organisation for accountability
Former law minister Babar Awan was also on the record to have stated that President Asif Ali Zardari had stopped the NAB from reopening corruption cases of Sharifs so analysts are presuming that President Zardari may have withdrawn his instructions. But why NAB is acting on instructions of a politician is not explained by anyone.