ISLAMABAD: The National Accoun­tability Bureau (NAB) has asked a former army officer to provide details about the alleged “misuse of authority” by former military dictator retired general Pervez Musharraf and information regarding the 85 plots ‘illegally allotted’ to retired general Yousaf Khan, former vice chief of army staff.

A complaint against the former army chief and the vice army chief had been filed by retired colonel Advocate Inam-ur-Rahim.

In a notice issued to the complainant, NAB said an inquiry into the allegations was under way. “The inquiry has revealed that you are in possession of information/evidence whatsoever, which relates to the commission of said offence,” it stated.

NAB also warned him of consequences in case he failed to provide the requisite information. It stated: “You are advised that failing to comply with this notice may entail penal consequences as provided in Section 2 of the schedule of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.”

Section 2 of NAO’s schedule states that anyone “refuses to answer questions, or to provide information to any member of NAB or any other agency when required to do so” may get “rigorous imprisonment for a term that may be extended to five years”.

Probe into ‘unlawful’ allotment of plots, land, houses to former vice army chief, others under way

Only two persons have been tried under Section 2 of NAO since 1999 when the bureau started working, NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal had recently told the Public Accounts Committee during an in-camera briefing.

According to the NAB notice, “the competent authority has taken cognisance of an offence committed by the subject accused under provisions of the NAO-1999.”

NAB further asked the complainant to provide evidence or information related to the allegation about allotment of residential and commercial plots, agricultural land as well as allotment of houses from the army housing schemes to certain officers as mentioned in his complaint dated April 2, 2013.

Retired colonel Rahim had originally filed the complaint with NAB five years ago. But the bureau did not entertain the complaint then, observing that it could not proceed against the retired army officers due to a constitutional bar.

According to a recent judgement of the Islamabad High Court, the bureau erred in misinterpreting the provisions of the NAB Ordinance of 1999 by refusing to consider and entertain the complaint. The IHC judgement enabled the anti-graft body to probe the allegations of corruption against the retired army officers.

The complainant accused former military dictator Gen Musharraf of misusing his authority and position, and of violating both human rights and laws of the country.

As per the complaint, “Mr Musharraf misused his authority by extending favours to chosen subordinates. He is accused of giving senior officials in the armed forces a number of plots over and above their entitlements.”

The complainant alleged that Gen Musharraf had allotted more than 85 plots — both commercial and residential — to then vice chief of army staff Gen Yousaf Khan.

Gen Musharraf, who took over by overthrowing the government of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, during his “illegal tenure” had twice suspended the Constitution, the complainant said. He further alleged that the military dictator had ordered the assassination of Nawab Akbar Bugti, removed and detained judges, ‘master-minded mass murder’ in Karachi on May 12, 2007, and proclaimed a state of emergency that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in July 2009.

Supply of ‘fake’ drugs to CMHs

Meanwhile, the decision of the Supreme Court registrar office to return a petition against supply of ‘spurious medicines’ to 27 combined military hospitals was challenged by the complainant, retired colonel Inam-ur-Rahim, by moving a fresh application before the apex court.

The SC registrar had returned the petition on April 17, raising the objection that the petitioner had neither approached any other forum available to him before moving the apex court nor did he provide any justification for it.

In his petition, Advocate Rahim blamed senior hierarchy of the armed forces, including former army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the former commander of 11 Corps and defence secretary Asif Yaseen Malik, for their alleged links to the manufacturing and supply of spurious medicine to 27 CMHs and local markets.

The petitioner alleged that the young army officers and soldiers evacuated to the military hospitals after being hit by bullets in incidents such as the 2011 Salala post attack were unaware that they would be treated with “spurious medicines and injections”.

In his fresh application filed against the registrar’s decision, Col Rahim conceded that there was another forum in the shape of NAB, but it took five long years to initiate an inquiry into allegations against former army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf and former vice chief of army staff Gen Yousaf Khan, and that too after the intervention of the Islamabad High Court.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2018