NAB reviews mega graft cases against top politicians

Updated 07 Jul 2020

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Former premiers Nawaz Sharif, Yousuf Raza Gilani, former president Asif Ali Zardari among prominent figures that are to be probed. — AFP/AP/File
Former premiers Nawaz Sharif, Yousuf Raza Gilani, former president Asif Ali Zardari among prominent figures that are to be probed. — AFP/AP/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday reviewed mega corruption cases of the country’s top politicians, including five ex-prime ministers, five former chief ministers and some sitting cabinet members, and expressed “dissatisfaction” over delay in disposal of their cases in courts contrary to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 that requires decisions on such cases within 30 days.

The prominent among those facing NAB cases include former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Shaukat Aziz, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, former president Asif Ali Zardari, former chief ministers Shahbaz Sharif of Punjab, Qaim Ali Shah of Sindh, Nawab Aslam Raisani and Sanaullah Zehri of Balochistan and Sardar Mehtab Abbasi of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and incumbent Sindh CM Sindh Murad Ai Shah.

Azam Khan, till recently personal secretary to Prime Minister Imran Khan, is also facing a corruption case related to the Malam Jabba resort project. Other ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders and cabinet members allegedly involved in mega corruption are: Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, ex-health minister Aamir Kayani and Aleem Khan.

Section 16 (a) of the NAO 1999, modified on March 26, 2010, says: “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force an accused shall be prosecuted for an offence under this ordinance in the court and the case shall be heard from day to day and shall be disposed of within 30 days.”

Bureau chairman directs prosecution wing to file applications in courts for early disposal of cases

A source told Dawn that the anti-graft watchdog had during a meeting expressed dissatisfaction over “delay” in disposal of NAB cases. It was informed that a Rs264 billion case against Dr Asim Hussain, a former federal minister in the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government, had been under trial for over five years. Delayed tactics by the accused and transfers of investigation officers after three years were cited as some of the reasons for delay in disposal of the cases.

NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal, who presided over the meeting held at the bureau’s headquarters, directed the bureau’s prosecution wing to file applications in courts for early disposal of the cases.

NAB deputy chairman Hussain Asghar, the prosecutor general accountability, director general (operations) and other senior officers were present at the meeting. All directors general (regional heads) attended it via video link. The meeting reviewed the overall performance of NAB.

Speaking on the occasion, the NAB chairman said the bureau firmly believed in pursuing the policy of accountability for all. “NAB doesn’t have affiliation with any political party, group or individual. The only affiliation of NAB is with the state of Pakistan,” he added.

The meeting also reviewed progress in the cases against Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Dr Asim, Ahsan Iqbal, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Miftah Ismael, Babar Khan Ghouri, Manzoor Wasan, Agha Siraj Durrani, Sohail Anwar Sial, Adil Siddique, Rauf Siddique, Sharjeel Inam Memon, Khursheed Shah, Waseem Akhtar, Sardar Ashiq Khan Gopang, Barjees Tahir, Ejaz Jakhrani, Rana Sanaullah, Sabtain Khan, Sahibzada Mehmood Zaib, Sher Azam Khan, Engineer Amir Muqam, retired Capt Safdar, Usman Saifullah, Anwar Saifullah, Asfandyar Kakar, Asim Kurd, Saadat Anwar, Rehmat Baloch, Tamash Khan, Hamza Shahbaz, Salman Shahbaz, Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Ahad Cheema, Fawad Hassan Fawad, Amjad Ali Khan, Siddique Memon, Manzoor Kaka, Shahidul Islam, Imranul Haq, Abdul Ghani Majeed, Anwar Majeed, Ejaz Haroon, Zahid Mir, Asif Akhtar Hashmi, Tahir Basharat Cheema, Tariq Hameed, Dr Ehsan Ali, Ghulam Mustafa Phal, Farkhand Iqbal, Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, Kamran Lashari, Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, Kamran Shafi and Khalid Mirza.

The meeting also reviewed progress in ongoing investigations against Bank Islami, Bank of Khyber, billion tree tsunami project and others.

The Supreme Court has issued a stay order in the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) Peshawar case. “NAB will proceed ahead in this case in light of the instructions of the apex court in this regard,” said an official press release.

The meeting decided to utilise all resources to arrest proclaimed offenders and absconders as per law. “Appeals will be filed against all the cases after getting certified copies of the decisions so that the looted amount could be recovered and deposited in the national exchequer,” the press release said.

The meeting decided that inquiries, complaint verifications and investigations would be completed as per laws.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2020