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March 3, 2016

Ex-khakis rule the roost in NAB

Top Story

March 3, 2016

ISLAMABAD: While reports about the establishment being behind the recent NAB activation against the PML-N after the PPP remain speculative yet the fact remains that almost all the key top posts in the Bureau are occupied by retired Khakis.

Not only is the chairman NAB a retired army officer, five of the Bureau’s regional heads (director generals) are ex-servicemen. Director generation operation at the NAB headquarters is also a former defence officer.

Most of these retired military officers are said to enjoy a good reputation. However, a few of the regional DGs, according to sources, lack the experience of investigation. There are also a few regional chiefs in BS-20 but holding BS-21 posts.

NAB Chairman Qamarzaman Chaudhry, who was appointed as the Bureau’s chief by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah, is a retired major. He was inducted in the District Management Group (now the Pakistan Administrative Service) during General Ziaul Haq’s rule. Before his induction in the DMG, Chaudhry was serving as an ADC to General Zia.

Director General Operation, NAB headquarters, is Syed Khalid Iqbal, who is a retired air force officer. Unlike most of the other ex-servicemen, he had joined the NAB on merit and through an open competition.

Out of the seven regional heads of NAB, five are headed by retired military officers. These include Major (retd) Shahzad Saleem, Director General KP; Maj (retd) Syed Burhan Ali, DG NAB Lahore; Sq Leader (retd) Tariq Nadeem, DG NAB Multan; Col (retd) Siraj Naeem, DG NAB Karachi, and Maj (retd) Tariq Mehmood Bhatti, DG NAB Balochistan.

All these DGs were inducted in NAB during the initial years of the Bureau’s creation under General Musharraf’s military rule. Except for Col (retd) Siraj and Sq Leader (retd) Tariq Nadeem, the other three are in the BS-20 but holding the BS-21 posts of directors general.

The Director General NAB Rawalpindi Zahir Shah and DG Sukkur Altaf Bhawani have no military background. These two DGs are regular BS-21 officers.

Eversince the NAB activated itself against corruption, initially in Sindh and now in Punjab and at the Centre, it is speculated in the media that NAB is being pushed by the military establishment to cleanse the Augean stables. However, there has been no confirmation of these reports either from the military or the NAB side.

Following its vigorous role, NAB is facing criticism from politicians. Initially,  the Bureau was criticised by the PPP leadership when it launched its massive operation to check the mounting corruption in the province.

The PPP leaders blamed the PML-N government at the Centre of unleashing NAB against the PPP leadership. But in the recent weeks, the PML-N started targeting NAB after the latter started pursuing corruption cases against the PML-N leaders.

The NAB officials deny that their campaign against corruption has any backing from the establishment. Instead they argue that in the DHA cases, the Bureau has also arrested military officers besides proceeding against a retired general and a former Wapda chairman.