The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday rejected Fawad Chaudhry's remarks that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, not the anti-corruption watchdog, deserved credit for accountability.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry in a June 19 appearance on GeoNews show Capital Talk had said: "We had promised accountability. All those who had to be held accountable, we held them accountable successfully," he said.
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Senior journalist Hamid Mir, who was hosting the show, interrupted the minister and asked, "Are you responsible for accountability, or is it NAB?"
The minister replied, "No, we are [responsible]. Where was NAB before?"
The same day, the minster took to Twitter to clarify his stance on the issue in response to a tweet shared by Mir of the video clip in which Chaudhry made the remarks.
Mir's tweet stated: "If anyone has the impression that NAB is performing important accountability duties, then please dispel this impression, because Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry says 'We are responsible for accountability,' and that everyone knows who 'we' refers to."
Chaudhry responded in the affirmative, saying that "Prime Minister Imran Khan introduced a narrative against corruption in this country. It seemed as though corruption wasn't an issue here at all. It used to even be said in political rallies that 'If he plunders, at least he also puts money into development'. The PTI put an end to this and created a culture of accountability. Institutions existed before too, but no one considered corruption a bad thing."
A press release issued by NAB on June 21 stated that the body had taken notice of the minister's comments on the television show, and rejected his statement as being contrary to facts.
According to the press release, NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal directed the NAB Rawalpindi director general to acquire an attested copy of Chaudhry's remarks from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority (Pemra) and initiate action against the minister as per the law.
Chaudhry's comments not only tarnished the image of NAB, but also invalidated the contributions of NAB officials who consider the elimination of corruption a national duty and have been discharging their duties with honesty and hard work, the anti-corruption watchdog said.
"The said statement of the minister can influence and create hurdles in ongoing investigations in NAB. It is worth mentioning that the government has never sent a reference to NAB for accountability," the press release added.