NAB under attack

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Perhaps NAB is the only effective institution in the country to catch looters and plunderers and recover looted money in most gentle manner suiting to the convenience of looters. Naturally such institutions are never welcomed by anybody whether they are politicians or other corrupt people from different segment of society therefore a relentless campaign is on by affected people against NAB to defame this great pillar of state.

It was established in 1999 by General Musharraf to catch big fish but its modus operandi has been very defective because when he launched drive against corrupt many innocent people were also nabbed, never the less when it was realized they were let off but at what cost? It is also true and is on record that billions of rupees looted of this nation have been recovered by NAB through plea bargain that now has been dispensed with Cases of loot and plunder were initiated by Senator Saifur Rahman during PML N rule.

Their defence has been that it is nothing uncommon others have done similar things. They point out with some justification that stealing is still going on in Pakistan.

All this may be true but it cannot be accepted as defence in the court. No thief can plead before a judge why pick on him when others are also robbing.

This plea is being taken by PML N leadership but sorry to say most of the time is wasted out on irrelevant issues that ultimately results in delaying the cases to unbearable limits. Therefore NAB if under attack there is some justification in it. When the corruption is documented in that case the looters have to be just punished and not allowed to fight his case.

Present uproar in the national assembly by opposition especially by former Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi who is also facing corruption charges is somewhat justified therefore his protest against DG NAB Lahore Salim Shahzad has some weight.

DG NAB Lahore appeared on TV channel and gave interview and defended NAB on investigations against Shahbaz Sharif who is facing multiple charges of corruption.

Their objection is justified because any case that is subjudice cannot be discussed but in Pakistan we have made mockery of law therefore no one bothers but the fact remains the government servants specially NAB should have been careful.

DG NAB Lahore had no business to come on TV channel and defend his institution. It has rightly been termed as media trial of leaders. The entire world knows that NAB is busy in high profile corruption cases against politicians that include the former two prime ministers and Chief Minister Punjab.

PPP and PML N who ruled this country for 10 years could have done away with the NAB as an institution but since they wanted to exploit their opponents through NAB therefore they kept mum. It is very strange that government officers who are not supposed to interact with media feel it convenient to disregard orders of the state and cause embarrassment. In such grave violations the person should immediately be removed from the job followed by filing a case and giving deterrent punishment to serve as warning to others. But no such thing happens in Pakistan therefore we find action replays. I n this particular case DG NAB has taken notice, let us see what the outcome is Just to recall in May 2016 a case had surfaced when Quetta NAB recovered more than Rs 730 million from the residence of former Balochistan Finance Secretary Mushtaq Ahmed Raisani.

You don’t have to hold seminar or try him in the court as recovery is open shown to the media that is enough to punish him. But when Chief Justice himself physically discovered liquor from the room of Sharjeel Memon during surprise visit in hospital that later on turned to be honey. Then God help this country. if the booty of finance secretary was 730 million, go little up Revenue Minister and stretch it to Chief Minister things should be very clear.

While Salim Shahzad DG NAB Punjab was under criticism his officers recovered Rs 330 Million from the residence of former junior revenue officer in Grade 16, stretch it to the chain of command it ends up at the Chief Minister custodian of the province, lesser said better it is. Under such circumstances NAB is not going to get the appreciation. But here is urgent need to revisit the procedure of trial and investigations in case of proven robbery, such cases need to be disposed off then and there. Delay in investigation and long tiring trials already bringing bad name to NAB.

There was no MUK MAKKA in both the cases. Can anyone defend these corrupt officers certainly not? But one thing is now clear that billions and billions of rupees have been looted by these corrupt people throughout Pakistan and when they are caught everyone starts criticizing the NAB and section of media try to defend these looters and talk about injustices.

All investigating agencies have uphill task of recovery of looted money but the laws and procedures restrict them to decide the case in given time frame. Hundreds of cases are piled up with them, it is time they are decided this way or that way, lingering on is not in the interest of state and the individual. In the words of Joe Biden “Corruption is a cancer; a cancer that eats away at a citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity; already tight national budgets, crowding out important national investments. It wastes the talent of entire generations. It scares away investments and jobs.”

The writer is a freelance journalist and defence Analyst.