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November 14, 2017

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Will new chairman review NAB’s in-house legal view on Musharraf?

Will new chairman review NAB’s in-house legal view on Musharraf?

ISLAMABAD: NAB’s controversial in-house legal view so far has been that it could not proceed against General ® Musharraf in any case of his alleged wrongdoing done in his capacity either as army chief or president of Pakistan.

A well informed official source in the Bureau confided to The News that in the past no action could be initiated on complaints against Musharraf because of the reason that the NAB legal wing had viewed that the NAB law could not be extended to Musharraf for legal and constitutional bars.

Unless the NAB under its newly appointed Chairman Justice ® Javed Iqbal re-examines this controversial interpretation of NAB’s legal mind, according to the source, the Bureau in the past has been killing all complaints against Musharraf for two reasons. i) Being army chief whatever Musharraf did including the doling out of military lands to civilians including politicians, the NAB could not proceed against him because the NAB Law does not cover the corruption or misuse of authority in the institutions of military and judiciary. ii) Being president of Pakistan whatever Musharraf did, is covered by presidential immunity under Article 248 of the constitution.

Although the NAB Law’s definition of the “Holder of Public Office” includes the office of the president, the NAB official source said that the NAB legal minds have been referring to Article 248 to prevent the Bureau from initiating any inquiry or probe into any complaint against Musharraf.

It is alleged by another official source that pro-Musharraf elements in the Bureau have been blocking every complaint against the ousted dictator in the name of legal and constitutional bars.  The source said that the presidential immunity under Article 248 of the constitution is connected with the term of the presidency and not for life of the person who has been the president.

The NAB law, it is said, differentiates between the president and governor from other public office holders including prime minister, on the same basis. In the case of president and governor, the definition says “a person who has been President of Pakistan or the Governor of a province”. In the case of other public office holders, the definition says, “a person who is or has been the Prime Minister, Chairman Senate, Speaker National Assembly………” It means president and governor could not be proceeded against till such time they are in office.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Executive Board of the NAB will meet on Nov 16th for the first time under the new chairman, who is expected to give his policy directions to the Bureau. So far in a policy change as against his predecessor, the chairman NAB has withdrawn the Bureau’s regional chiefs’ (DG’s) power to initiate or drop any inquiry or investigation against BS-20 officers or allow plea bargain in such cases. Now the regional DG’s will have such power in respect to government servants up to grade 19.

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