The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday ordered National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officers and their family members to declare their assets.

PAC Chairman Noor Alam Khan issued the directives during a meeting which was attended by NAB officials, including acting chairman Zahir Shah. The committee asked NAB officers, their spouses, children, siblings and parents to declare their assets.

It also directed the bureau to provide a record of the perks and salaries given to NAB officers and sought an audit of the distribution of funds among victims of corruption.

During the meeting, the PAC chairman came down hard on the anti-graft watchdog. He called on NAB officials to send the questionnaire sent to suspects to their own family members.

The bureau's Karachi chief responded that in order to do this, all officers would have to be declared suspects, prompting a heated exchange between the two.

The PAC chairman said the purpose of government institutions was to curb corruption, not to seek political revenge.

The members of the PAC were of the opinion that the recoveries made by the bureau should be deposited in the national treasury.

PAC member Senator Saleem Mandiwala said that NAB claimed to have recovered Rs820 billion so far. But data from the finance ministry showed that only Rs15bn had been deposited in the national treasury, he said.

The acting chairman responded that the bureau had only one account where the recoveries were deposited, adding that the auditor general could conduct an audit at any time.

At one point, Senator Shibli Faraz questioned whether the bureau could work independently after parliament approved the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill. 2021.

Shah was of the view that the accountability watchdog was bound to abide by the law and did not have the authority to question the legislative process.

The committee also summoned the records of the Eden Housing Scheme from the bureau's acting chairman. The committee again summoned NAB officials at the next meeting on July 7 with a record of the execution of its directives.

During the meeting, Khan also asked the NAB officials about the corruption case against him. "Tell me if it is still being deliberated. I will step down from chairing today's meeting," he said.

"I am not sure but I think the inquiry against you has not yet concluded," Shah replied. He assured the PAC chairman that he would receive a letter of apology if the inquiry proved him to be innocent.

However, Faraz pointed out that Khan should have not chaired today's session if the inquiry against him was still pending. However, the PAC chairman dismissed his concerns, saying that the bureau only served to humiliate suspects.

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