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CJP seeks NAB reply to ex-army officer’s suicide note

Updated March 22, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and his sister Aseefa meet members of Asad Munir’s family to offer their condolences.—PPI
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and his sister Aseefa meet members of Asad Munir’s family to offer their condolences.—PPI

ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of a purported suicide note left by retired brigadier and analyst Asad Munir, Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa on Thurs­day summoned a reply from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

On the directive of the chief justice, the Supreme Court’s Human Rights Cell asked NAB to submit the response within a fortnight. The suicide note was rece­ived by the SC registrar office.

In his suicide note, Asad Munir, who served in the army as an intelligence officer apart from working on different key posts in civilian departments, had expressed the confidence that he was giving his life in the hope that the chief justice would bring about positive changes in the system where incompetent people were playing with the life and honour of the citizens in the name of accountability.

His body was found hanging with a ceiling fan in the study of his apartment located in highly guarded Diplomatic Enclave on March 15. His family found a suicide note, without signature, suggesting that he had committed suicide to avoid humiliation as NAB initiated three investigations and two inquiries against him in the last one year. In the two-page note, Brig Munir had accused NAB of harassing him.

He had committed suicide a day after a corruption reference against him and other former officials of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) was approved by NAB at its executive board meeting. They have been accused of illegally allotting a plot located at Sector F-11, Islamabad.

In his suicide note, the late officer admitted that he remained member-estate of the CDA from 2006 to 2010 and for more than six years there was no case against him, but since April 2017 his life had been made miserable by NAB. The letter had also mentioned that his name was placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) in November 2017 by the interior ministry for three months under an FIR in which he had never been nominated. Though he had filed a review addressed to the interior secretary, he received no response and his name remained on the ECL after more than a year.

The suicide note also stated that he had submitted the details of his assets to NAB on June 14 last year, but was committing suicide to avoid humiliation, being handcuffed and paraded in front of the media. Brig Munir had requested the chief justice to take notice of the conduct of the NAB officials so that other government officials could not be convicted of the crimes they had not committed.

The letter also highlighted that except for one investigating officer, all others in his cases were incompetent, rude, arrogant, untrained, knew little about the working of the department they were investigating and that they already had assumed that he had been involved in corrupt practices without listening to him.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2019