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Friday August 12, 2022

NAB chairman relinquishes charge of office

Sources said Deputy Chairman NAB Zahir Shah will act as the Acting Chairman NAB till the appointment of the new chairman

June 03, 2022

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal on Thursday relinquished the charge of his office on expiry of the ordinance through which he was given an extension till the appointment of a new chairman. According to sources, a farewell ceremony was also held in honour of the outgoing chairman NAB Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal at the NAB headquarters on Thursday.

Sources said Deputy Chairman NAB Zahir Shah will act as the Acting Chairman NAB till the appointment of the new chairman.The deputy chairman NAB has administrative powers and may look after the day-to-day affairs till the appointment of new chairman.

The four-year-eight-month tenure of Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal as the chairman NAB was one of the most controversial eras of the bureau. The appointment of Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal in 2017 was approved by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah. During the tenure of Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal as the chairman NAB, both Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Syed Khursheed Shah were jailed on corruption charges.

The tenure of Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal as Chairman NAB can be described as extremely tumultuous as during his tenure, former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former President Asif Ali Zardari, current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and many other political leaders, bureaucrats, and businessmen were detained, but alleged corruption in PTI projects was not investigated.

Constitutionally, the term of chairman NAB is four years while Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal completed his term in October 2021, but the PTI promulgated the NAB amendment ordinance through which he was given an extension till the appointment of new chairman NAB.

However, the PTI government did not start the process of consultation with the opposition leader for the appointment of new chairman.

Under the new bill on amendments in NAB Ordinance that were passed by both the houses of the Parliament — National Assembly and Senate —a chairman NAB who completes a four-year term cannot be appointed chairman NAB for second tenure. However, President Dr Arif Alvi has not signed the bill relating to amendments in the NAB passed by National Assembly and Senate.

The government was already in consultation process for the appointment of new chairman NAB and the name of Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar, who is tipped as a strong candidate for the post is being considered besides the names of Justice (retd) Dost Muhammad, two former senior policemen who had served in FIA, Aftab Sultan and Bashir Memon, and former bureaucrat Ikhlaq Tarar were also shortlisted.

The National Assembly also passed the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill 2021 to make various amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance 1999. According to an amendment to Clause 1 of the bill, the Act will come into force at once and will be deemed effective from the date of commencement of the NAB ordinance. The amendment was moved by PMLN MNA Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha on behalf of Shiza Fatima, Shahida Akhtar Ali and others.

According to the new bill regarding the amendment in NAB, the NAB deputy chairman will be appointed as acting chairman on the retirement of NAB chairman. The bill has also reduced the four-year term of the NAB chairman and the bureau's prosecutor general to three years. The power to appoint the deputy chairman will rest with the federal government.

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