KARACHI: Former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf has said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cannot be diluted.

“Institutions take time to mature and creation of a new institution in its (....NAB’s) place is not a way to solve continuing problems. However, changes can be made in the way it functions,” the former president said during the inauguration ceremony of a civil society forum, Pakistan First Initiative (PFI) here on Saturday.

Appointed ‘democratically’ as the patron of the initiative, he spoke about the growing vacuum for a platform to discuss and debate “burning national issues.”

Held at a hotel in Karachi, the ceremony was attended by former economists, diplomats and ambassadors who are also part of the PFI council and were representing the Council of Professionals (COP) which Musharraf was addressing.

Mr Musharraf was the only one who spoke at the event as he laid down the features and functions of the initiative with the media. There are critical issues that are not discussed on the national or social media, he said, and it is to fill that need that he and other like-minded people thought of forming a think tank to bring them to the table. “We aim to study, analyse and debate issues which directly affect governance and welfare of the people,” he said. However, he added that: “We are not a rich organisation and will be dependent on public funding. Also, it is not a money-oriented initiative.”

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2016

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