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March 20, 2020

KP NAB performance raises eyebrows: NAB official says baseless propaganda going on

Peshawar

March 20, 2020

PESHAWAR: The National Accountability Bureau has adopted dual standards of accountability in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The NAB is losing credibility by its poor performance and double standards in mega cases as its visibility has been questioned in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the higher judiciary and opposition parties as well.

Despite the passage of more than two years, the NAB has not arrested a single accused in any mega scam unearthed in the province during complaint verification, inquiry or investigation stages, while on the other hand, other NAB regions have detained important personalities in minor cases. Growing perception of unfair accountability has raised serious reservations.However, a NAB official rejected the allegation and impression of unilateral accountability in the country and termed it baseless propaganda against the organization.The PHC had expressed displeasure on NAB performance in different cases on several times. Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court (PHC) Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth had questioned the role of the National Accountability Bureau during the hearing of a case on September 11, 2019 and observed that it seems there is no NAB in the province nowadays.“It seems that the KP province is without NAB now,” he observed. The chief justice observed that a few years ago, the NAB was much active and visible against corruption, but, unfortunately, now the NAB is not seen in KP. The NAB is active in Punjab only, he added.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Muhammad Naeem Anwar on September 18, 2019 summoned NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Director General Fayyaz Qureshi after the absence of a NAB prosecutor in a petition filed against the NAB KP. “The NAB KP is only active on the media. There is no progress in NAB cases which are facing long delays in courts,” Justice Qaiser Rashid stated while hearing the petition filed by Tahir against the NAB. He added that the NAB issued call-up notices to people and then warrant of arrests in the cases but then there seems no progress in the cases.Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on January 8, 2019 remarked that the National Accountability Bureau’s performance is limited only to TV screens. “The National Accountability Bureau is being shown active only on TV screens. They aren’t doing anything practical. The NAB condition is so bad that they cannot even arrange a prosecutor to defend its cases,” remarked Justice Qaiser. The opposition lawmakers in the KP Assembly had recorded time and again their protest against the unilateral accountability and illegal arrests of opposition leaders by the NAB. They criticized the NAB’s soft attitude towards PTI mega scams in the province.It is pertinent to point out here that the NAB has shown poor performance in the mega scams including the misuse of helicopter case against Prime Minister Imran Khan and others, Malam Jaba illegal lease, Billion Tree Tsunami, Ehtesab Commission, Bank of Khyber (BoK) and others. In another case of Bus Rapid Transit, the Supreme Court issued restraining orders on September 4, 2018, but the NAB is not pursuing the case vigorously to vacate the stay orders. The investigation of Malam Jabba has already been completed and a reference had been sent to the headquarters for approval from the executive board of the bureau, but a decision about filling of the reference by the board is still awaited. According to documents, the Malam Jabba scam had come to surface on January 7, 2018. The NAB chairman has declared it a classic example of misuse of authority and abuse of power and ordered an inquiry to be completed accordingly. In the inquiry, the NAB KP had recorded statements of former chief minister Pervez Khattak, now the defense minister, CM Mahmood Khan, former sports minister Atif Khan, Principle Secretary to PM Azam Khan after summoned them to the bureau. The NAB confirmed that investigations have been completed and a case was sent to the NAB headquarters. However, the NAB executive board never discussed the case to file a reference. The NAB KP has already declared Malam Jabba scam a mega fraud.The second high profile case is misuse of the KP helicopter, which was reported on February 2, 2019. It alleged that Imran Khan being chairman of PTI has illegally used the KP government helicopter without any lawful authority. The PM had appeared on August 7, 2018 on a call-up notice at the regional bureau and recorded his statement. NAB sources said he was given a questioner but he has not sent it back nor appeared again before the NAB KP. The sources claimed that the case has been closed by the NAB Executive Board but it was not officially announced.Another mega scam is Billion Tree Tsunami, which was unearthed by the media and the chairman NAB ordered an inquiry on April 5, 2018, but the NAB has not been able to complete the inquiry even after the government took action against 350 employees on charges of corruption and malpractices.Another case of illegal appointments in the Bank of Khyber was handed over to the NAB after the dissolution of the Ehtesab Commission but the case is still pending in the NAB without any action.