ISLAMABAD: In less than 60 days, the number of graft suspects seeking relief under the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Amendment Ordinance 2019 has jumped to 100, it emerged on Wednesday.

A number of former bureaucrats and key politicians have sought disposal of their cases, including some known corruption cases, under the ordinance, reveals an official document, a copy of which is available with Dawn.

The NAB (second amendment) Ordinance 2019 was promulgated by President Arif Alvi on Dec 27 last year to give maximum protection to the bureaucracy and business community.

The NAB document, however, showed that so far only three people have become successful in getting relief from courts which have acquitted them after disposing of their pleas. Those who have been acquitted from corruption charges are Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, former president of Sindh Bank Bilal Sheikh and former managing director of Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) Rasool Khan Mahsud.

Key politicians, ex-bureaucrats among applicants after president promulgated NAB amendment ordinance

Prominent among those who have applied for the relief included ex-federal minister Shaukat Tareen, former provincial minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, former federal minister Akram Khan Durrani, former Director General of NAB (Rawalpindi) retired colonel Subah Sadiq, Sikandar Hayat Maiken, Aijaz Haroon, Liaquat Ali Jatoi, Khursheed Anwar Bhinder, Fakhar Zaman and Tahir Basharat Cheema.

The document also mentions Abdul Ghani Majeed, principal accused in the fake accounts and money laundering case, and his wife Minahil Majeed seeking acquittal in the same case. It is believed that if Abdul Ghani Majeed and Minahil Majeed get relief from the court, other 170 accused in the case including PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, former chief minister Qaim Ali Shah, incumbent provincial minister Anwar Siyal and Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz will also get relief from courts.

Following is the list of some other NAB accused who have challenged their cases under the new ordinance: M. Husnain, Khalil Ahmed, M. Amaar Idrees, Ghulam Murtaz Malik, Wazir Ali Bayo, M. Razi Abbas, M. Saleem Arif, Iqbal Ali Shah, M. Rafiq Butt, Javed Nazir, Naeem Khan, Shafiquz Zaman, Asad Mehmood, N.A. Zuberi, Ch. Rasheed Ahmed, M. Hussain Syed, Matanat Ali, Aftab Ahmed, Anwar Abbasi, M. Aslam, Raheel Bashir, Usman Bashir, Tariq Hassan Gillani, Abdul Majid Alvi, Kamran Saeed, Raja M. Ishaq, M. Sohail Ishaq, M. Suleman, Mazhar Hussain, Humayun Faiz Rasool, retired colonel Wakeel Khan Afridi, Abdul Shafique, Javed Feroz, Shahid Feroz, Khalid Feroz, Rizwan Feroz, Sultanul Arfeen, Shamsul Arfeen, Qadeer Batlay, M. Ali Javaid, M. Masood Raza, Abdul Salam Sheikh, Asim Raza, Amanullah, Shabnam Iftikhar, Mohammad Saleem, Kh. Shumaila Mehmood, Masood Chishti, Hassan Ali Memon, Rasool Bux Phulpoto, Riaz Ahmed, Abid Saeed and Ghulam Shabbir.

Former director of the Special Initiative Department, Sindh, Hassan Ali Memon, had filed an application for acquittal on Jan 8.

Shumaila Mehmood and Masood Chishti, who were among seven accused in the Nandipur power plant reference, also filed appeals for acquittal on Jan 8. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) legal wizard Dr Babar Awan was acquitted in the case. Media reports said former premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was also indicted in the reference that relates to the delay in the establishment of the power plant.

Former Sindh police chief Ghulam Shabbir had filed an application before an accountability court on Jan 3 in a reference filed against him for alleged misuse of authority, while former top official of Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) Foundation Rasool Bux Phulpoto, Riaz Ahmed and Abdid Saeed also filed applications before the court on Jan 7.

Sources said the applications seeking relief under the ordinance had created resentment in the anti-graft watchdog whose legal team started preparing their future line of action to counter their move.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2020