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Monday May 16, 2022

Did new SAPM visit NAB HQ, meet ‘unwell’ chairman?

Another lobby within the government, it is said, is trying to get Lt Gen (retd.) Bilal Akbar as chairman NAB

January 28, 2022
SAPM on Accountability Brig (retd) Musaddiq Abbasi (R) and Chairman NAB Justice (R) Javed Iqbal (R). -File photo
SAPM on Accountability Brig (retd) Musaddiq Abbasi (R) and Chairman NAB Justice (R) Javed Iqbal (R). -File photo

ISLAMABAD: The newly appointed Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability, Brig (R) Musaddiq Abbasi, is said to have visited the NAB headquarters on Thursday and met Chairman Justice (R) Javed Iqbal, who is said to be down with Covid. Informed sources said that Abbasi also met thedeputy chairman NAB. NAB sources said that the purpose of the visit was to help the Bureau deliver and ensure fast track result-oriented accountability. When approached, the NAB spokesman did not confirm or deny these meetings. On Wednesday, the spokesman had told The News that Javed Iqbal is not attending office for the last several days because of Covid. On Thursday, the spokesman when approached said he did not know whether the chairman attended office on Thursday or whether he had recovered from Covid. The spokesman also said he has no knowledge of SAPM’s visit to the Bureau's headquarters. He said the chairman NAB’s staff would better know about Javed Iqbal's attendance on Thursday as well as the SAPM's visit.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is not satisfied with the performance of NAB which, besides having capacity issues, is currently seriously affected by the non-availability of a full-time regular chairman. The incumbent Javed Iqbal is continuing in his post till the appointment of a new chairman and the government seems to be in no hurry to find a replacement.

A NAB source, however, insisted that Javed Iqbal is also not happy with his present status and for the same reason he is not attending office regularly. The source said Javed Iqbal came to office only once last week --on Wednesday --and he attended office yesterday (Thursday) owing to the visit of the SAPM. It is said despite the ordinance having been issued by the government for continuation of NAB chairman till the appointment of a regular chairman, no notification has been issued by the law ministry.

NAB sources claim that Javed Iqbal, being a legal mind, understands that in the present situation his decisions as chairman NAB could be questioned and therefore he wants the government to appoint him for another term.

It is said that there has been no executive board meeting (EBM) of NAB in the last four months. One source claimed that no reference had been filed and no arrest made during the same period.

The NAB sources said that the Bureau’s working has been seriously affected because of the present situation. There is no indication when the government will initiate the appointment process for a new chairman NAB. Although the incumbent is said to be keenly pursuing his bid to get another term of four years, official sources said that some influential persons in the government are in favour of appointing former Deputy Chairman Husain Asghar as the next head of the anti-graft body.

Another lobby within the government, it is said, is trying to get Lt Gen (retd.) Bilal Akbar as chairman NAB. Nothing can be said at this stage about who will finally make it, as the process for the appointment of chairman NAB involves the prime minister and Leader of the Opposition. In case they do not agree on any name, the matter will be referred to the parliamentary committee.

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