NAB chief told to expedite probe into Bakhtiar’s case

Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar address a joint press conference in Islamabad. ─ DawnNewsTV/File
Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar address a joint press conference in Islamabad. ─ DawnNewsTV/File

MULTAN: The Lahore High Court’s Multan Bench has directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman to decide a report recommending a proper inquiry against federal minister Khusru Bakhtiar for allegedly accumulating assets worth billions as a public office holder.

Abdul Jabbar filed a petition through his counsel Muhammad Rashid Qamar and Chaudhry Muhammad Azeem Iqbal stating that he had filed an application to the NAB chairman on Sept 9, 2018 for taking action against the federal minister who, being a public officer holder, accumulated assets worth billions.

He stated that his complaint was sent to NAB’s Multan director general for the verification by the chairman which was onward entrusted to complaint cell in-charge Deputy Director Syed Wajihul Hassan who collected evidence from government departments and gave findings that the federal minister had landed property till 2004 and then he joined politics and was elected an MNA.

The report said Bakhtiar also remained federal minister, chairman district council and now he is again serving as federal minister (development, planning and reforms) and during this period his assets significantly multiplied and now are estimated to be in billions. The in-charge complaint cell requested for authorisation of the inquiry.

He stated that the report/finding on the complaint verification was sent to the NAB chairman in December 2018 for authorisation of inquiry and although the chairman is duty-bound to dispose of the report within four working days, it is still pending with him even after four to five months.

He stated that it was a violation of the NAB SOPs which creates doubt on its working. It is a hot topic on the social media as well as the print media, with rumours that the NAB chairman withheld this particular report in his office with some ulterior motive.

He requested the court to issue appropriate direction to the NAB chairman to dispose of the report according to the NAB SOPs.

Justice Sadiq Mahmood Khurram and Justice Anwarul Haq Pannun directed the NAB chairman to decide the application expeditiously, preferably within a week from the receipt of the order.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2019

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