Gathering graft evidence: NAB chairman regrets ‘cold shoulder’ by other countries

Published October 4, 2019
NAB chief Retd justice Javed Iqbal says even small countries didn't listen to Pakistan when it sought evidence against a suspect. — DawnNewsTV/File
NAB chief Retd justice Javed Iqbal says even small countries didn't listen to Pakistan when it sought evidence against a suspect. — DawnNewsTV/File

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman, retired justice Javed Iqbal has expressed frustration over what he called ‘cold response’ from other countries with regard to providing legal assistance required to proceed against the suspects having off-shore holdings.

“White-collar crime begins from Lahore and reaches Islamabad from where it goes to Dubai and other states and one fine morning we come to know that properties and farm houses have been made (by suspects) in Europe, the USA and Australia. When we approach these countries [they do not bother] because we have a begging bowl in our hand, how come we [could] talk to them on equal footing,” he said in a talk with businessmen at the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries here on Thursday.

He said even a small country did not listen to Pakistan when it sought evidence against a suspect.

Citing example of a suspect from Lahore, the chairman said that he (suspect) in 1980s and 1990s was on a bike and now he had plazas and towers in Dubai.

“We tried to bring him (the suspect) back from the country he was presently living in, but a court there granted him a stay and we failed to bring him back,” he said apparently referring to former fiance minister Ishaq Dar who was in London. Dar has been declared a proclaimed offender by a Pakistani court in a corruption reference.

“NAB is investigating cases against those who ruled the country for 35 years. NAB never overstepped its jurisdiction as it has no affiliation with the government,” he claimed.

“Nobody could have ever imagined that “someone” would be in NAB custody and facing courts. There are several mafias in the country and NAB is performing its duty honestly,” he said and added that he just wanted to ask that the country was under $100bn debt and where the amount was spent.

Regarding the option of “plea bargain” offered to the suspects by the NAB, Mr Iqbal said: “It will be a grave injustice if the thieves were let off the hook by paying 10 percent of whatever they had embezzled,” adding that a suspect could make all the money again in just three days if he got a powerful position.

Denying the allegation that NAB forced suspects to become an approver against ‘big guns’, retired justice Iqbal said:

“NAB does not force any suspect to become an approver against anyone,” challenging the businessmen to bring forth even one such case.

He assured the business community, that NAB would not take up any case of tax evasion against them. “Tax evasion cases related to businessmen will be referred to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) as these are different from [those pertaining to] money laundering,” he said and added that the bureau was investigating such cases on the apex court’s order.

Mr Iqbal also told the businessmen that NAB did not take action directly on bank default cases as these were referred to it by banks.

Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2019

Opinion

Between boom and bust
Updated 24 Jun 2021

Between boom and bust

Ultimately the budget, and its aim to pump growth, will be left standing on two legs only — free oil and free dollars from abroad.
Judging without law
Updated 24 Jun 2021

Judging without law

The Supreme Court has yet to formulate a detailed procedure to conduct cases having far-reaching impacts on people’s lives.
Cold war II
23 Jun 2021

Cold war II

China and the West must find a better way.

Editorial

PM on Afghanistan
Updated 24 Jun 2021

PM on Afghanistan

Points raised by PM need to be pondered by all sides — specifically Afghan govt and Taliban — if a civil war is to be avoided.
24 Jun 2021

Third-party interest

WHAT should be done when third-party interest has been created where construction has been done illegally? It is an...
24 Jun 2021

Electricity policy

THE Council of Common Interests has unanimously approved the National Electricity Policy 2021 that will focus on...
PM’s views on rape
Updated 23 Jun 2021

PM’s views on rape

Rape is a crime primarily of power rather than lust, rooted in a contempt for others’ bodily integrity.
23 Jun 2021

Gas concerns

CONSUMERS face the prospect of ominous blackouts next month owing to the closure of two gas fields in Sindh, the ...
23 Jun 2021

New Iranian president

SAYYID Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s new president, is taking over at a time of great geopolitical flux, while the Islamic...