Where is the deputy chairman NAB?
By Syed Fawad Ali Shah
NAB came into being as a result of public demand and under the international obligation that states should take effective measures to curb corruption from their societies, especially the government officers as corruption leads to deprivation of masses from their rights and leads to exploitation of the people at the hand of government machinery. Such exploitation gives rise to poverty and public unrest, and it may further result in crimes, low trust in democratic values, and ultimately disturbance and anarchy. This is the grand policy view of the world democratic forces to save the world order from revolt and unrest and societies must take meaningful actions to plug the holes in the wastage of public resources. Petty corruption cases in our country were dealt by the Anti-corruption department and some higher cases were taken cognizance by FIA; however, owing to the intrinsic weaknesses and malpractices of the two existing agencies, a new and powerful agency was created in the name of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which was established with full authority and coercive powers and tremendous resources, both human and financial. NAB was provided all kinds of support and free hand, and today it is designed on professional lines with greater power, more legal cover and free hand in selection of a target and unlimited time for completion of its inquiries and investigation.
NAB remained very effective in the initial years of its establishment and claimed many laurels to its cap and trumpeted many stories of disrupting the corrupt rackets and putting some big fish behind the bar. However, as the culture in this country, and like Anti corruption and FIA, there has been marked decrease in the efficiency and output of the NAB in the recent years. NAB developed its own malpractices in the years. Not to mention the political opponents of the government, there is a wide spread discontent about the functions and purpose of NAB. No doubt NAB has become extremely sluggish and partisan in many cases. A ray of hope is seen in the shape of Mr. Hussain Asghar , the Deputy Chairman NAB, who is a man of honour and dignity and has an unblemished service record. His reputation is that of honesty, incorruptibility and going by the book. However, when we see the situation in NAB, KP, we think that if Mr. Hussain Asghar has either left the NAB or has no knowledge of what is going on in the NAB, KPK. Until recently especially in the tenure of Shahzad Saleem as Director General NAB, KPK, it was an impartial and effective unit. But now NAB, KP itself has become a fountainhead of corrupt practices. Let me give you a few examples:
NAB, KP acts only on the request of some secret services. If the secret services are reconciled with the non-conformists then the complaints and enquires are withdrawn. However, if someone is targeted, just an anonymous letter is good enough to start full-fledged enquiries. Some recent reforms by NAB Headquarters are expected to plug this malpractice by NAB, KP.
In specific case, the enquiry /complaint against an incumbent Commissioner of an important Division in KP is being hushed up. The Commissioner has four-kanal of well-built house, a business and property in Dubai, and assets beyond means, whereas his father was a cart-driver (Tanga-Ban), and who doesn’t know that he earned a fortune of Rs. 5 million per day while he was the Political Agent in the most lucrative place of Khyber Agency before FATA-merger. The technique of the NAB, KP is either to send case to Anti-Corruption or guide the accused to take stay from the High Court, or they put the References in the trial court, and so save the accused from interrogation and arrest. NAB, KP did the same malpractices in the case of as sitting Secretary in the provincial government, whose assets are beyond means, but after palm-greasing, his case was sent to Anti-Corruption. How naive that an asset case of Grade-20 (PAS) is sent to Anti-Corruption whereas. It is headed by a grade-18 officer of prosecution service who is a close friend of the incumbent provincial secretary. This malpractice was also very daringly adopted in the infamous case of polio scandal of KP Police where bewildering corruption of multi-multi millions was sent to Anti-Corruption, saving senior police officers who have shamelessly usurped the money of poor constables. How Anti-Corruption can carry out the enquiries against an IG Police or a CCPO and a DIG-Range who are very powerful and it is a mega case of multi-millions in the KP Police. Even the notorious Arms Scandal of KP Police is being thrown to cold storage for the reason that the incumbent powerful police and intelligence officers are involved in it. In some other cases, the NAB, KP has become over efficient and has sent reference cases to the courts, so the accused are enjoying and the arrest was avoided after a deal under the table.
There is an expectation of the Deputy Chairman, as he has no video recording by IB and has clean record, that all the asset enquiries and mega scandals against the said Commissioner, the Secretary Local Government and the Polio Scandal, be recalled from the Anti-Corruption, KP as conducting assets enquiries or mega scandals are beyond the scope of Anti Corruption, and such cases be given to honest officers in NAB, KP or Islamabad, and action shall be taken against those who have tarnished the image of NAB by these malpractices in NAB, KP.
The writer is a senior journalist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org