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September 13, 2019

Justice Javed’s appointment as NAB chairman: How a ‘common friend’ played key role

September 13, 2019

ISLAMABAD: A common friend had approached the then prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for the appointment of Justice (R) Javed Iqbal as NAB chairman.

The common friend had even offered that the retired justice would be ready to submit to the premier his signed resignation letter even before his appointment to assure that he was trustworthy.

Informed sources said that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had responded to the common friend that he did not require it (resignation letter) and decided in favour of Justice (R) Javed Iqbal’s appointment. It is, however, not known whether the common friend was pushing for Javed Iqbal’s appointment on his own or was asked by the retired judge. Meanwhile, the sources said that some sympathisers and friends of Justice (R) Javed Iqbal had already approached both Asif Ali Zardari and Mian Nawaz Sharif to lobby for his appointment as NAB chairman.

Interestingly, the then opposition leader Khursheed Shah was personally not in favour of appointing the retired Supreme Court judge as head of state’s top anti-corruption entity but he had no choice because of Asif Ali Zardari’s vote for Justice (R) Javed Iqbal.

It is said that even Mian Nawaz Sharif had spoken to Shahid Abbasi and politely recommended Javed Iqbal’s name by telling the premier “to consider” the retired judge. Among those who were lobbying for Iqbal’s appointment as NAB chairman included a real estate tycoon.

On Thursday, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in an informal talk with media outside the Accountability Court, apologised to the nation for appointing Justice (R) Javed Iqbal as NAB chairman.

He said that the name of NAB chairman had come from Pakistan People's Party and appointment was made with consensus. Abbasi said that the main aim of establishing the NAB was to divide the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. Abbasi is presently in NAB custody in connection with LNG terminal probe being done by the Bureau.

Shahid Abbasi’s apology for Javed Iqbal’s appointment as NAB chairman came within 24 hours of Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa’s statement that there is growing perception that accountability process being pursued in the country at present is lopsided and part of political engineering.

NAB Chairman Justice (R) Javed Iqbal has been insisting that Bureau does not believe in political victimisation and is carrying out across-the-board accountability.