A day after Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry criticised the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for what he implied was leniency on part of the watchdog, the bureau clarified on Wednesday that it would never arrest anyone merely at the whim of a minister.
On Tuesday, the minister had told reporters at the residence of PTI’s Haleem Adil Shaikh in Karachi that he was surprised as to why NAB was not arresting Asif Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah despite the fact that their names had appeared in the joint investigation team (JIT) report as “key suspects”.
“It’s quite unfortunate that the performance of NAB is not satisfactory and moving at a slow pace,” he had said, adding that, “Zardari and Faryal Talpur have held the people of Sindh hostage while Murad Ali Shah facilitated all their wrongdoings despite holding a key office in the province and all this is documented in the JIT report. Despite all these facts [they] have not been arrested yet, which is quite surprising.”
NAB in today's press release rejected the impression that it was moving at a slow pace. In a statement, the watchdog said it has so far not received written orders from the Supreme Court in this regard and that it will devise its strategy as per the apex court's orders.
Moreover, the bureau announced it has decided to write to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to acquire content of news items pertaining to the "statements of a minister regarding a case being followed by NAB".
The watchdog was referring to Fawad Chaudhry as he had said on multiple occasions that NAB should withdraw the case against Prime Minister Imran Khan and that it should also apologise in this regard.
The statement read that NAB would examine the entire issue as to why it was being asked to shut and withdraw the case. The anti-corruption watchdog will also examine the issue under the NAB law if the statements were tantamount to attempts to manipulate NAB proceedings, it added.
"NAB rejects all types of pressures and assures that all investigations are carried out as per the law and the Constitution to uphold the requisites of justice," the statement read.