NAB takes U-turn on chief’s appearance before Public Accounts Committee

Published January 9, 2022
A file photo of National Accountability Bureau chairperson  retired Justice Javed Iqbal. — DawnNewsTV/File
A file photo of National Accountability Bureau chairperson retired Justice Javed Iqbal. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) took a U-turn on Saturday by requesting the National Assembly secretary to consider its earlier letter as withdrawn in which the bureau had said that its chairman Javed Iqbal will not attend a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Jan 6.

“The reference made in this context … to His Excellency the Hon’ble Prime Minister in the above referred letter was inadvertently and accidentally. Therefore NAB has requested secretary National Assembly that NAB’s letter written on January 3, 2022 should be considered as withdrawn,” a fresh letter of the accountability watchdog to the NA secretary said.

It may be recalled that the chairman of the PAC on Jan 6 reportedly ended its meeting in protest after the panel came to know that the NAB chairman would not be attending it as he had asked a senior official to represent him with the approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Withdraws letter which said Javed Iqbal won’t attend committee’s meeting

The members, who had come to attend the special in-camera meeting of the PAC, which had been convened at the request of the NAB chairman, were surprised to see the earlier letter from NAB chairman’s office, stating that the prime minister had nominated the director general (DG) of NAB headquarters to represent the bureau chairman in the PAC meeting. The opposition members of the PAC had blasted the NAB chairman over his “behaviour” and asked PAC chairman Rana Tanveer to move a privilege motion against Javed Iqbal in the National Assembly to make him accountable before the parliament.

The NAB chairman, who had been avoiding successive meetings despite repeated summons, had finally agreed on Dec 7 last year to appear before the PAC for the first time, but requested to convene an in-camera meeting to review the performance of his organisation.

In the fresh letter to the NA secretary, the NAB claimed that its chairman held the parliament in the highest esteem, honour and dignity.

“He [NAB chairman] has already appeared before the PAC meeting and will continue to appear as and when required. He also remains steadfast to his commitment made earlier in this regard with the PAC,” the letter said.

The letter said the contents of NAB’s earlier letter were being “misconstrued and misinterpreted” by the press. “Factually the letter was addressed to secretary National Assembly informing him of certain private responsibilities of NAB’s chief regarding a close member of the family who is suffering critical medical condition.”

Consequently, NAB chairman was not available and thus the director general of NAB headquarters was nominated to represent the chairman as the principal accounting officer in the PAC meeting to answer all questions of the parliamentarians.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2022

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