NAB law is 'black' only for those involved in corruption, says bureau chief Javed Iqbal

Published May 2, 2019
NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal speaks at a ceremony in Multan on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV
NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal speaks at a ceremony in Multan on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal on Thursday criticised the "Socrates and Plato" who term the NAB law as a "black law", saying that people criticise the institution without knowing anything about it.

Without naming anyone, Iqbal said: "Many Socrates and Platos have come to life who have never read the NAB law but still criticise it and call it a 'black law'."

While addressing a ceremony in Multan, he said that a "vicious propaganda" is being spread against NAB but declared that nothing would stop the anti-corruption bureau from doing its job.

The anti-corruption watchdog over the past two years has snared several senior politicians, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and government officials for being involved in corrupt practices. Many politicians from PPP as well as PML-N who are being probed by the bureau for alleged corruption have criticised it. PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in many of his press conferences and rallies has termed NAB a "black law" that was made by a dictator. Last week, former president Asif Ali Zardari too had criticised NAB, saying that the bureau and economy cannot go together.

Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, real estate tycoon Malik Riaz and others are being investigated in a fake bank accounts and money laundering case. A couple of months ago, the NAB headquarters had shifted the case against 172 suspects, including Bilawal, from Karachi to Rawalpindi.

In his speech today, Iqbal said that the accusation that NAB's activities had hampered business activities was a "lie". According to the NAB chief, he held a meeting with the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry officials but they could not point out any instance where NAB's actions had affected business activity in the country.

"The people who say that NAB and economy cannot go together are wrong," he declared. "Instead they should say that NAB and corruption cannot go together but NAB and economy can."

"If NAB law is black then why didn't previous governments scrape it?" he asked. "Every evening we hear that NAB is a black law but we are not told what is black about it. There is nothing black about NAB, you [critics] only say that because you are at the receiving end.

"If there was something wrong with NAB, wouldn't the Supreme Court have blasted it apart?"

He admitted that "NAB could make mistakes" and that there was room for improvement and urged critics to give "constructive criticism". He insisted that NAB was a transparent institution and did not care which party was in power.

"Gone are the days when [corruption] was ignored," he said, adding that whatever action NAB takes will be "within the ambit of law".

He also urged the people who had "looted money" from the nation to return it or else the "law will take its course".

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