ISLAMABAD, Sept 5: After an out of court settlement between the chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and 14 senior officials, including 8 regional directors, withdrew their petition filed against the appointments’ of their three provincial chiefs.
According to a letter submitted with their withdrawal application in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), senior NAB officials — who earlier criticised their boss, chairman admiral (retired) Fasih Bokhari for having made illegal inductions in NAB — have now had a change of heart.
They expressed their complete faith in him and stated that they are withdrawing the petition after the chairman assured them to redress their grievances.
The withdrawal letter submitted to the court on Wednesday bears the signatures of all the 14 petitioners — Brigadier (retired) Musaddiq Abbasi DG NAB Headquarters Islamabad, Col (retired) Khursheed Alam acting DG Peshawar, Lt Col (retired) Shahzad Anwar Bhatti acting DG operations NAB Headquarters Islamabad, Col (retired) Subha Sadiq Malik acting DG NAB Rawalpindi, Lt Col (retired) Sirajul Naeem acting DG training, Major (retired) Syed Burhan Ali acting DG Quetta, Major (retired) Shabbir Ahmed acting DG Karachi, Faizullah Khan and Major (retired) Shahzad Saleem directors NAB Rawalpindi, Major (retired) Tariq Mehmood Malik, Zahir Shah, Mirza Mohammad Irfan Baig and Raza Khan acting directors NAB Islamabad.
These senior officials in June this year had approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the high profile appointments allegedly being made in NAB in violation of the rules.
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi on June 27, while admitting the petition for regular hearing also declared that the appointments of provincial chiefs of NAB will be subject to the court’s order.
According to the petition of NAB officials, which were filed in the IHC through their counsel for the petitioners Raja Amir Abbas, NAB authorities inducted their favourite persons on high profile posts, adding that over the last few months, the bureau inducted Khursheed Anwar Bhinder as director general (Punjab) Kausar Iqbal Malik as director general (HR) and Wajid Durrani as director general (Sindh).
The petitioners alleged that Durrani a retired officer of the police was appointed on the recommendations of President Asif Ali Zardari, adding that, unfortunately, Mr Durrani does not fulfill the requisite eligibility criteria and does not carry a clean service record.
The petition said that the appointments were being made in excess of any predefined and allocated quota reserved for initial appointments and promotions, adding that, according to the quota, the bureau’s authorities could make 25 per cent initial appointments from outside, while 75 per cent positions could only be filled through promotion.
It alleged that chairman NAB and DG (HR) were making illegal appointments and favouring their blue-eyed persons and this amounted to discrimination as provided under article 25 of the constitution.
The blatant misuse of authority by the respondents – chairman NAB and director general (HR) – has been defined and termed as an offence under the NAB ordinance 1999 and ironically people who are supposed to charge culprits for the said offence are themselves committing the same, the petition said and added, NAB is supposed to be the most transparent, across the board working organisation and if justice and fair play is not dispensed to their own employees, how can it ensure it to others?
According to the petition, the bureau instead of convening the promotion board and promoting the hardworking and eligible officers are inducting irrelevant and retired persons on key posts.
The views of the petitioners, however, have changed dramatically within a couple of months as the letter submitted to the IHC expressed their complete faith in the chairman. It also said that they believe that the chairman will fulfill a commitment made to them regarding the matters of their promotion.
Raja Amir Abbas, the counsel of the petitioner when approached said that it was a good case to argue and the petitioners had also got some sort of relief as the court had linked the appointments of NAB provincial chief with its final verdict.
But the petitioner, under the law can withdraw its petition at any stage; he said and added that the withdrawal of petition also became possible with the consent of the court.
He also said that the court may probe the matter to find out that the settlement was made in a transparent manner and was not exploiting the rights of either party.
A NAB official on condition of anonymity told Dawn that the authority is also negotiating with some 60 junior officials who also approached the court against the direct appointments as these appointments are causing delay in their promotion. He claimed that the junior officials would also withdraw their petitions in the coming days.
Yasir Rahim Bhatti, counsel of junior NAB officials when contacted said that their case is different than the senior officials. In our case the court has clearly restrained NAB authorities from further appointments, he said.
So far, I did not receive any instruction from my clients regarding withdrawal of the petition, he added.