PESHAWAR, (MANEND NEWS): National Accountability Bureau (NAB)
Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal on Tuesday once again defended
the anti-corruption watchdog against allegations of bias and
committing excesses, saying closing down NAB will only benefit the
Speaking to a group of traders in Peshawar, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal
said NAB had always been the subject of a “nefarious propaganda” and
allegations were leveled against it. “And the only basic reason for that
was that people hadn’t imagined even in their dreams that someone
could ask them [about their wealth],” he added.
Javed Iqbal said the accountability watchdog had recovered Rs487
billion ill-gotten money in a period of three years, while Rs2.5bn were
recovered from a housing scheme by NAB Lahore and distributed
among the affectees.
Recalling that persons holding power in the past had suggested closing
down the bureau, he said: “Should NAB be shut only because it asked
you where you acquired these billions of rupees from?”
The NAB chairman said when persons suspected of misappropriating
huge sums of money were questioned about them, their first response
was accusing the bureau of “intiqami karwai” (acts of vengeance).
Javed Iqbal said he had spent all his life in Balochistan and he was not
familiar with most people whose cases were currently being heard. “So
there is no question of [taking] personal revenge,” he added.
The NAB chairman said he was also accused by critics of having
political affiliations, adding that he wasn’t aware what the term
actually referred to.
“My personal interest and that of NAB is only with Pakistan,” he said.
“Closing down NAB will only benefit the elite or those millionaires who
wanted to become billionaires but incidentally due to NAB that dream
couldn’t be fulfilled.”
“That is why they were sad and shocked that there’s an institution in
Pakistan that can ask where these billions of dollars and rupees came
from,” he added.
Javed Iqbal said when poor people were held accountable, then the
elite should not be exempt from questions either.
“NAB’s biggest crime is that it asked these people how they wasted
away so much of the nation’s money and the country’s economy,” he
He said NAB was always held responsible for destroying the national
economy, but noted that the bureau neither charged tax nor
determined the interest rate and wasn’t responsible for making other
economic policies either. “So how can we impact the country’s
economy?” he asked.
“Some people tried to create a storm in a teacup that dozens of
businessmen have migrated from here due to NAB. That is not why
they left, some of them left only because power and gas were
expensive and there was not enough water in the past. Now things are
a lot better, law and order situation is better,” the chairman said.
He told traders that the NAB had never asked anyone about where
their investment came from and how they started their business, “but
there is a difference between a genuine businessman and a dacoit”.
“I can say with certainty there is no [other] institution in our country
that could recover in Rs2.5bn in two years and distribute among [the
affected] people, then recover another Rs2bn in 1.5 years and
distribute among people,” he said, adding that one of the bureau’s
biggest accomplishments was the record Rs1bn fine imposed in the
Javed Iqbal continued: “I have assured genuine businessmen many
times and I do that again that if businessmen progress, the country
will progress and the economy will improve and common man’s life will
He said NAB was not a policy-framing institution and worked according
to the law. Additionally, no “coercive measures or third-degree
methodology” was used to recover the billions of rupees reclaimed by
the bureau and the accused themselves opted for plea bargains, he
He said even after an accused entered plea bargain, which was allowed
by the law, they did not become guiltless. “You are a criminal [even
after it] because you admit you’ve committed a crime; it’s a separate
thing that you sometimes say ‘the conditions are such that we can
only give Rs95 instead of Rs100′. If we use other tactics, then we
might not be able to recover these Rs95 either,” he added.
Javed Iqbal stressed that plea bargain could not take place without
court permission. He said NAB only did the calculations and estimated
the loss caused to the exchequer, and then presented the case before
the relevant court, which then approved a plea bargain.
“It is not a new phenomenon in Pakistan. It’s present in every country
where there are anti-corruption laws, so it is not an unusual thing,” he
Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal said that anti-graft watchdog’s present
administration has nothing to do with the Broadsheet agreement as
the agreement was signed in year 2000 and ended in 2003.
Javed Iqbal was informed that the NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 307
complaints at present out of which 68 complaints are being
investigated, while 95 inquiries and 36 investigations are also
underway as per law. He was informed that 182 references of NAB
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are pending in the accountability court in
Peshawar. The NAB’s KP chapter had also recovered Rs 3,018 million
in three years and deposited it in the national treasury.
Speaking on the occasion, the NAB chief said that 1230 corruption
references were pending in various accountability courts of the
country. These references are worth about Rs 943 billion.
He said that petitions for speedy hearing of mega corruption cases
worth billions of rupees will be filed in the accountability courts.
Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal went on to say that in the past those who
could not even be considered to be summoned in the NAB were also
asked to appear before the officials. He said that the Bureau’s has
nothing to do with judicial remand and present the accused to the
court within 24 hours after his arrest. The court, after looking at the
evidence, hands over the accused to NAB on physical remand.