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March 8, 2018

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‘NAB to proceed against Musharraf’

ISLAMABAD: Finally, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is said to have decided to initiate a probe into alleged corruption and misuse of authority against former dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

Col (retd) Inamul Rahiem Khawaja -- the person on whose petition the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in its recent judgment directed the NAB to proceed against General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for his alleged corruption and misuse of authority during his tenure - said he was told on Wednesday by the NAB chairman that the Bureau has decided to initiate the inquiry against the former dictator.

Col (retd) Inam told The News here on Wednesday that following the NAB’s invitation he met the NAB chairman and other top Bureau officials including Deputy Chairman, Prosecutor General and two Director Generals to discuss Musharraf’s case.

Col (retd) Inam, who is also convener of Ex-Servicemen Legal Form, said he was not only told that the Bureau has decided to initiate probe against Musharraf but the top NAB bosses also expressed their satisfaction over the evidence relating to Musharraf’s wealth and about his alleged misuse of authority. “This is admissible evidence,” Col (retd) Inam quoted one of the top NAB officials as commenting over his evidence.

The IHC, last month, in its order had directed the Bureau to proceed against Pervez Musharraf for his alleged corruption while holding the office of the president of Pakistan. The direction came from a division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb. The IHC had declared that the NAB had the jurisdiction to investigate General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for his assets beyond known sources of income, corruption and corrupt practices.

The IHC also declared a NAB letter dated April 25, 2013 as illegal that the anti-graft body had written to complainant Inamul Rahiem advocate informing him that the Bureau could not initiate investigation proceedings against Musharraf for want of jurisdiction. Rahiem had filed a complaint before NAB seeking investigation into Musharraf’s assets inside and outside the country as these were beyond his known sources of income. After NAB returned his application, he had filed a petition with the IHC.

The IHC order declared: "The Bureau is vested with the power and jurisdiction to consider the complaint of the petitioner and after such consideration, it is of the opinion that an offence under the Ordinance of 1999 is prima facie made out, then it will become a duty of the NAB to proceed to inquire, investigate and take all other steps mandated under the Ordinance of 1999. Across the board accountability is an onerous statutory obligation of the Bureau under the mandate of the Ordinance of 1999. Public trust and confidence is the hallmark of effective and result oriented accountability. It is the duty of the Bureau to consider every information or complaint laid before it by a citizen and then to fulfill its statuary obligations by proceeding under the Ordinance of 1999 in a fair and transparent manner without fear or favour."

So far NAB has been reluctant to initiate any investigation against Musharraf. Recently, the Bureau had even ignored the Supreme Court’s observations in Hudaibya case where the NAB was reminded of its own law which envisages 10-year jail for those who hamper or defeat any of Bureau’s investigation, and lamented that NAB did not move against those who had jeopardised Bureau’s probe by sending Sharifs into exile.

“It is an offence punishable with rigorous imprisonment for up to 10 years, if any person compromises, hampers, jeopardises or defeats any investigation under process before NAB or the Accountability Court,” the Supreme Court order had said while referring to the NAB law.

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