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CII chairman welcomes NAB decision not to handcuff accused

Updated April 18, 2019

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Though NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal has accepted the CII suggestion, his recent announcement was limited to government employees. — AFP/File
Though NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal has accepted the CII suggestion, his recent announcement was limited to government employees. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz on Wednesday welcomed the decision of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief not to handcuff the accused.

Though NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal has accepted the CII suggestion, his recent announcement was limited to government employees.

“The arrested officials will no longer be handcuffed; officers belonging to grade-19 and above will not be arrested without my permission,” Justice Iqbal had said while addressing top officials of the Punjab government at a ceremony held at Civil Secretariat in Lahore.

“The bureaucracy is the backbone of the country and if it does not make decisions, then how can we? The government drafts policies and it is the bureaucracy’s job to implement them,” he had said, announcing that NAB’s regional officials would not arrest any government officer on their own and no arrested officer would be handcuffed in future.

The issue of handcuffs hit the headlines when in October last year former vice chancellor of the Punjab University Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran and other professors were produced before an accountability court handcuffed. While lawyers for the arrested professors lodged a strong protest with the court against the anti-graft watchdog, then chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took notice of the NAB action.

The CII chairman said the NAB decision would improve the image of Pakistan regarding human rights and respect for the dignity of humanity. Dr Ayaz also suggested that the media adopt responsible attitude so that Islamic value of honouring humanity could be given due importance.

The CII had raised the issue in its meeting on April 4 and said NAB should not handcuff the accused as it was not only un-Islamic but also derogatory for society.

The council had even formed a committee to analyse the NAB ordinance and determine which sections of the law were in violation of the Islamic principles. The CII had noted that handcuffing was only allowed when there were threats of violence by the arrested person.

Soon after the CII’s concerns, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had criticised the council for speaking up only when the rich were being arrested by the authorities.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2019