Mandviwalla vows to 'hold trial of every NAB officer in media'

Published January 18, 2021
Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala speaks in the Senate on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala speaks in the Senate on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala on Monday said although politicians and businessmen were regularly subjected to media trials, it was now the turn of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officers to be tried in the media.

Speaking during a Senate session, he repeated the allegation that people were losing their lives due to alleged excesses of the accountability watchdog.

After NAB froze more than three million shares of different companies registered in Mandviwala's name with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in connection with the fake accounts case in November last year, the Senate deputy chairman has vowed to expose the bureau internationally.

Mandviwala today said he had met the wife and daughter of retired brigadier Asad Munir, who committed suicide in 2019, who described the difficulties faced by the deceased before his death.

The body of Munir, who was facing multiple inquiries by NAB, was found hanging from the ceiling fan in the study of his apartment located in the highly guarded Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad in March 2019. He worked both with the military and the government.

Mandviwalla said he found out that Munir had survived the first suicide attempt and later hanged himself. He said Munir's family had told him "what happened with his life since the NAB investigation started".

The Senate deputy chairman stressed that the government as well as NAB should take notice of the issue in order to stop "mud-slinging" against people.

"Politicians are smeared every day; it has no effect on us and we will face it, but people cannot tolerate. People are committing suicides, leaving the country and they are worried news about them being issued a NAB notice will be run any moment," he said, adding that such developments were on the rise.

Referring to NAB's reported complaint that it was being subjected to a "media trial", Mandviwalla said it was "interesting that until now every other person was subjected to a media trial but for the first time, NAB's media trial is taking place".

He said this media trial against NAB would continue and more and more people would join it. "Now we will hold the trial of every NAB officer by name in the media," he announced.

While talking about the fake accounts case, Mandviwalla questioned how an account could be fake if it was opened in a bank, saying "there can be fraud or identity theft, but there can't be a fake account."

He termed the case a "big drama", saying no allegations regarding fake accounts had been proven in the last 3-4 years.

Mandviwalla claimed that NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal was being "blackmailed" through a woman named Tayyaba whose video had leaked in the past. He asked Iqbal to "come in the Senate and tell us who is blackmailing you".

"You cannot stay NAB chairman for your entire life, who will stand with you when you retire? No one, and then you will be blackmailed a lot more," he added, claiming that he had personally "seen messages and heard recordings".

Responding to the Senate deputy chairman, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar said only two people had died in NAB's physical remand — one Sajjad in 2004 and Razzaq Bhatti in 2014.

"It is wrong to give the impression that something has happened recently," he said, adding that while retired Brig Munir's suicide was "unfortunate", it was inappropriate to link it with NAB unless a probe established the same.

"Why are the deaths from 2004 and 2014 being made relevant now? Is that relevance because a member [of the house] was issued a notice or freezing orders were issued by the accountability court? So these things should be looked at holistically."

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