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December 10, 2019

President advises NAB not to heed newspaper reports: Malam Jabba, BRT references ready, says Justice Javed Iqbal

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December 10, 2019

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi and Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal Monday said a non-discriminatory and apolitical accountability process was underway to rid the country of corruption.

Addressing an event here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day, President Dr Arif Alvi Monday said accountability was an important state organ in addition to the judiciary, the executive and parliament, and for the first time in the country's history an accountability process was underway with a non-political approach.

“The accountability process must bestarted from the powerful,” he said. The president expressed satisfaction that a new dawn had set in the country for bringing back the money looted from the national exchequer.

“Earlier, the accountability process in Pakistan only revolved round victimisation of politicians,” he said. The president said all citizens were equally accountable before the law; however, he regretted that the discriminatory treatment meted out to the elite and the common man was still a challenging task.

“The accountability process in the country is moving ahead with a non-political approach,” he said. He said under the NAB laws, when allegations were levelled against someone, then they had to prove their legal and lawful source.

However, he advised the NAB against reacting to newspaper reports. He said unless a powerful person surrendered before the law, the process of accountability should not be extended to the weaker segments.

He said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf included in its manifesto a strong campaign against corruption and called for taking more steps to bring improvement in the electoral system to ensure transparency.

He said every state institution had a responsibility to check corruption, adding that citizens could end corruption in politics by rightly using the power of vote. He said accountability had become a norm in democratic countries; however, the concept was first introduced in the State of Medina set up by Prophet (Peace Be upon Him).

Dr Alvi said anti-corruption departments were working in the country; however, there was a need for effective implementation of the law. He said as soon as the society started realising the wrongs of corruption, the journey of improvement would start.

He said as per rules of the National Accountability Bureau, the accused was liable to provide proof of wealth beyond his resources.

Addressing the seminar, Chairman National Accountability Bureau Justice (R) Javed Iqbal said the Malam Jabba and Peshawar Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) Project references were ready and action would be taken once the court vacated the stays.

“Questions are being asked why action has not been taken yet. Action on the Malam Jabba and Peshawar BRT is ready and once the court vacates the stay, action will be taken,” he said.

He said those hitting sixes in corruption were now in jail, facing trial before the court or out of the country.

“This is happening for the first time in the country and credit for this goes to the NAB,” he said. He said the NAB was being accused of nexus with the government but he wanted to make it clear that the NAB neither had an alliance with anyone nor was it involved in any political victimization.

“We have no enmity or coalition with the government or the opposition but our affiliation is only with Pakistan,” he said. He said no unholy alliance had been made with anyone, as the NAB only considered case and not the face.

Justice Javed Iqbal said there was no concept of accountability in monarchy and emperorships and strange experiences were made in the country in the lust for power. “Self-accountability will produce good results. There’s also a section of the society that has many complaints with the NAB,” he said, adding that nobody carries pocket in his shroud.

He said the NAB would continue its actions against corruption indiscriminately sans caring about the government or the opposition. He said the anti-graft watchdog had no unholy alliance with the government against anyone and had made the opposition parties united on clipping its powers.

“The NAB has cared about browbeating, status or influence since 2017. The NAB has fixed its goal of eradication of corruption from the society,” he said.

He said Quaid-e-Azam had said in his speech that the country was facing issues of corruption and nepotism and it could not progress sans overcoming these problems.

“The country should play its role in eradication of corruption,” he said and urged Parliament to play its role in law-making and implementation. Speculations should be avoided regarding the NAB cases’ arrests.

“The NAB is taking action against the people who enjoyed power for 30 to 35 years and the incumbent government has been in power for 15 months,” he said.

Justice Javed Iqbal said the country’s interest should always be protected. “The begging bowl shows that we did not keep national interests supreme. Lust for power has increased poverty. A surgery was needed to eradicate corruption and the NAB was doing the same by utilising its resources.”

Justice (R) Javed Iqbal said the NAB had recovered Rs382 billion from the corrupt and deposited it into the national exchequer. “The NAB has played role in recovering Rs39 billion from the UK and Rs153 billion from the corrupt in last 25 months,” he said.

The chairman said the NAB respected politicians and bureaucrats; however, if Rs50 million was spent on a project of Rs5,000, then the NAB will ask question.

“The country lacks health facilities, as no money has been spent to facilitate people but through corruption money some people bought properties worth billions in Dubai and London through money laundering. When questions are asked, they get irritated.”