KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that after repealing the NAB law [within Sindh] the provincial government is going to restructure and strengthen the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) through legislation under which the provincial assembly will be empowered to appoint its chairman. Referring to the “high-handedness” of NAB officials, he quoted instances of misuse of authority by them.
The chief minister stated this while responding to questions of participants in the post-budget conference organised by a media group at a hotel here on Wednesday. He was accompanied by Information Minister Syed Nasir Shah and senior bureaucrats of the provincial government.
He said NAB was created by a dictator [Gen Musharraf] and he had given it constitutional cover by including it in the Sixth Schedule to prevent amendment to it. “Under 18th Constitutional Amendment the Sixth Schedule was omitted, therefore the NAB law could be amended,” he said and added: “Since anti-corruption is [a] provincial subject, the Sindh government using its constitutional right has repealed the NAB law [Sindh Section] and is going to enact law for the creation of an autonomous anti-corruption body to serve as watch and ward on public spending in the province.
Blames NAB “harassment” of officials for lesser utilisation of development funds in Sindh
Questioning the performance of NAB, the chief minister said that they [NAB] had arrested a chief engineer and a superintendent engineer of the irrigation department for lining canals and had put them in the Sukkur jail for three months. The judge who granted them bail had written in his judgement that the irrigation officers were arrested with mala fide intentions. “The DG NAB Sukkur has occupied a bungalow of the irrigation department at Barrage Colony Sukkur and later got it forcibly allotted. Through a scheme of the irrigation department, he has spent Rs45 million of the provincial government on its repair and renovation,” he said and added that two more bungalows of the irrigation department had been occupied by NAB officials. They had also got their bungalow renovated for Rs1.5m. A bungalow of the works department at GOR Colony in Hyderabad and a vehicle of the Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority was also under the use of NAB officers. “This is what they are doing with Sindh,” he said.
The chief minister also said that the “harassment” of Sindh government officers by NAB was one of the factors behind the lesser utilisation of development funds in Sindh.
The chief minister said that under the NAB law, in violation of the Constitution, the federal and provincial cabinet members and the parliamentarians had been declared public office holders. This was done by Gen Musharraf with the intention to harass politicians and parliamentarians.
Governor, Centre criticised
He deplored that the Sindh governor had equated repealing of the NAB law with an attempt to separate Sindh from the federation. “I am quite surprised [at] his views. He has a constitutional role and he should limit himself to that instead of issuing irresponsible political statements,” he said. He asked why the governor did not raise his voice when Punjab chief minister had warned the NAB authorities against crossing their limits.
Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2017