PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) again to produce a report on its inquiries into the alleged irregularities in the Bank of Khyber recruitment, Billion Tree Tsunami afforestation programme and Malam Jabba ski resort land lease.

A bench consisting of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar fixed Jan 12 for the next hearing into a pro bono petition filed by Dr Adil Zareef, Maimoona Noor and four civil society members seeking the court’s orders for action against the NAB officials over failure to act over the alleged irregularities in leading projects of the provincial government.

The bench ordered the production of the inquiry report by that date.

The petitioners claimed that the NAB was carrying out selective accountability and had put all cases against the ruling PTI’s members on the back-burner.

Bureau says status of pending probes being examined in light of recent ordinance

They requested the court to declare that the NAB had failed to perform duties in relation to cases of the erstwhile KP Ehtesab Commission, corruption in Billion Tree Tsunami project, illegal appointments in Bank of Khyber (BOK) and Malam Jabba Ski resort lease cases and that this failure was arbitrary and illegal.

They have also sought the court’s orders for action against the NAB officers, who have failed to perform duties about those cases, under the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999.

When the bench took up for hearing, the petitioners’ counsel, Ali Gohar Durrani, pointed out that during previous hearing, the court had ordered the NAB in Oct to submit reports about the inquiries conducted into those three government projects.

He, however, said the bureau had so far not produced those reports.

NAB prosecutor Riaz Ahmad told the bench that the country’s president recently promulgated an ordinance through which several changes were made in the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

He said the bureau had been examining the status of the pending inquiries and investigations in light of the recently promulgated ordinance.

During hearing, Justice Roohul Amin Khan observed that if the NAB was interested, it knew how to arrest a man even after changes were made to the law. Mr Durrani pointed out that during pendency of the petition, the NAB had also closed its investigation in the Malam Jabba land lease case.

The bench asked the prosecutor why the NAB hadn’t produced the inquiry reports despite orders.

The prosecutor sought time for submitting the inquiry report.

Mr Durrani contended that those NAB officers should be made accountable who had been guilty of giving undue favours by blocking the accountability of the people involved in those alleged irregularities.

He said the NAB hadn’t showed any progress on the Billion Tree Tsunami and BOK alleged illegal appointment cases.

The respondents in the petition are the federation of Pakistan through law secretary, interior secretary, NAB through its chairman, NAB Executive Board through its chairman, and NAB KP through its director general.

During previous hearing the Nab representatives had told the court that investigation had been completed about a portion of the Billion Tree Tsunami project in Dera Ismail Khan and a reference was expected to be filed in near future.

They had said investigation was also done about BOK recruitment, while its findings were sent to the NAB headquarters for decision on whether or not to file a reference with the relevant accountability court.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2021

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