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Pakistan

Web Desk
January 15, 2021

Saleem Mandviwalla questions federal govt's reservations on holding NAB accountable

Pakistan

Web Desk
Fri, Jan 15, 2021

ISLAMABAD:   Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla has once again sought accountability of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). 

During Friday's Senate session, the deputy chairman questioned the federal government's reservations to hold NAB accountable. "The families of NAB officers live abroad, who will check their returns? Our fight will continue until NAB officials declare their assets," he said.

He  emphasised that if the Parliament is scared into silence then is no hope for the common man, adding that he has received messages threatening to initiate more inquiries against him if he does not stop speaking out against the bureau. 

"You can initiate as many inquiries, I will speak out even more. I will hold a press conference every week with other NAB affectees," he said, urging the Parliament to meet people who have been 'targeted' by NAB. 

Referring to NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal's statement that he was being blackmailed, the deputy chairman urged him to come before the Senate and parliamentary panel and appraise them of the who was behind the blackmail.

"On December 29, the bureau announced it was filing a reference against me but when asked, they said it has not been filed yet. Now, at long last, they have filed a reference."

The deputy chairman then demanded an open trial.  He emphasised that NAB was making doing business in the country difficult by going after everyone's accounts.

"We stopped the Federal Board of Revenue from going into people's accounts, but now NAB is doing the same thing. The State Bank of Pakistan is a hostage to NAB's antics. This is a dangerous precedent."

Taking the floor, PTI leader Babar Awan underscored that legislation on accountability cannot be done by courts. "No government has tried to amend NAB laws," he regretted. "Institutions were set up but never allowed to function and become strong."

Awan argued that the current NAB set up was put in place by the previous government. "This is the first government that has wanted to introduce reforms," he said, adding that the PTI government had drafted a NAB Ordinance but parliamentarians have not yet decided on it.

Awan said the current government was ready for talks on reforms. He said institutions were active under the incumbent government because they knew "no one will be given an NRO" and dismissed the notion that NAB was only going after politicians.