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The chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) on Monday ordered National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal to answer for the publicity of summons issued to people in inquiries being carried out by the anti-corruption watchdog.

CJP Mian Saqib Nisar also ordered Iqbal to appear, along with NAB Prosecutor General Asghar Haider, in his chamber on Aug 27.

Justice Nisar, while hearing a case on the payment of high salaries to Punjab government officials appointed as heads of 56 public-sector private companies, said: "NAB has no right to slander people."

"The summoning of people should be private," he asserted, adding: "The reputation of a person who is found innocent in an inquiry will be ruined in society [due to news reports that he has been summoned by NAB]."

Justice Ijazul Ahsan also regretted that "news [of people summoned by NAB] breaks before they get their notice". He added that there were "black sheep" in NAB.

The CJP insisted that "action be taken against any investigation officer who is found guilty of sharing information".

The NAB prosecutor assured the bench that the anti-graft body had initiated an accountability drive within the organisation.

Employees ready to return salaries

According to a report submitted by the NAB prosecutor today, 54 officials had withdrawn a total of Rs520,074,000 in salaries.

The NAB prosecutor told the court that at least 34 officials who received high salaries were ready to return the money.

The apex court ordered all officials who had withdrawn market-based salaries in addition to their regular pay, to return the extra money within three months.