Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice of the arrest of Dr Abdus Samad, director of archaeology and museums in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and said that the body's chairman should take action against those responsible for the "disgraceful act".
"The NAB Chairman should take action against those in his institution who are responsible for this disgraceful act," the prime minister said in a tweet posted late on Friday night. He posted a screenshot of a tweet by Dawn's Peshawar Bureau Chief Ismail Khan, who had pointed out that Dr Samad had been arrested simply for employing workers "to ward off illegal excavations".
Shortly after, NAB's Islamabad bureau issued a press statement saying that the NAB chairman had taken strict notice of the arrest and instructed DG NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to present Dr Samad at NAB Headquarters in Islamabad along with the case record on Monday.
"NAB holds the services rendered by Dr Abdul Samad, director of archaeology and museums Peshawar, for the country in high esteem and will ensure that he is treated in a dignified manner," the statement quoted the NAB director as saying.
Dr Samad had been arrested by NAB on Thursday when he was asked to turn up at the bureau’s office for answering certain questions in a case pertaining to alleged misuse of authority.
According to the anti-graft watchdog, Dr Samad had appointed over 90 'Class IV' employees at different archaeological sites in violation of prescribed rules.
Yesterday, NAB produced Dr Samad before an accountability court in Peshawar and secured 10-day physical remand "in order to hold an interrogation" regarding different charges against the archaeologist.
Dr Samad, who is perhaps the youngest person to be appointed as archaeology director during the last decade, maintained his innocence before the court and said that he had been implicated in a false case.
He said that if he was proven guilty, he should be awarded double sentence by the court, but in case of his innocence, action should be taken against the concerned officials of NAB.
Dr Samad's lawyer said that his client was asked through a phone call to appear at NAB’s office and was arrested there without a warrant. He also told that the court that the accused holds a PhD in Archaeology from Germany and is also a Fulbright alumnus. He had also been awarded a Tamgha-i-Imtiaz by the federal government for his services.