QUETTA: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal has hinted that action will be initiated soon against two former chief ministers of Balochistan on charges of corruption and misuse of powers.
Speaking at a seminar here on Wednesday, Justice Iqbal said an inquiry against one of the former chief ministers had almost been completed while an inquiry against the other was under way.
Caretaker Chief Minister of Balochistan Allauddin Marri, the chief secretary, director general of NAB Balochistan, inspector general of police and other senior officers also attended the seminar about corruption.
On the occasion, the NAB chairman handed over to Chief Minister Marri documents of properties and keys of vehicles worth billions of rupees that were confiscated by the bureau in the mega-corruption case of the provincial finance department.
Justice Iqbal said that because NAB had a policy of zero tolerance for corruption, it would not hesitate to take action against corrupt officers and other elements. “Now action will be taken from top to bottom without regard to the corrupt officials’ status and influence,” he said.
Justice Javed Iqbal hands over to caretaker chief minister documents of properties and keys of vehicles recovered in a corruption case
Billions of rupees had been looted from the national exchequer and sent abroad for purchasing expensive properties. “All the money looted by the officials and other elements would be brought back to the country,” said Justice Iqbal.
He said that bureaucracy should now change its attitude because all people involved in looting and plundering of national wealth would be made accountable.
The NAB chief said that putting tough questions to the corrupt elements was not politics. “I consider it to be worship.”
Initiating inquiries against the corrupt elements was not victimisation as the NAB had nothing to do with elections, he said. However, he added: “We will not take any step that hurts the self-respect of any person.”
Turning to the sense of deprivation among the people of Balochistan, Justice Iqbal said the situation would have been far better had the past provincial governments spent the funds meant for Zakat and Ushr properly.
He expressed the hope that the huge amount recovered under the mega-corruption case of the province’s finance department would be spent on the welfare of the people.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Marri said that corruption could only be purged from society through self-accountability.
“Today money looted from the people of Balochistan is being returned, but it’s a matter of shame that such a huge scandal was unearthed in this province,” Mr Marri said.
He said the government officers working in Balochistan were educated people, but despite its best efforts the province was getting mired in corruption.
“I have visited several countries in Europe and I have always admired them for their development. Our country and society is full of talented officers but corruption has pushed us back.”
Chief Minister Marri said the people should keep in mind while voting that all political leaders were ultimately accountable to the masses.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018