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NAB does not believe in any political revenge: CJP

05 July, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal Thursday said across-the-board accountability is in progress as the bureau doesn’t believe in political victimisation.

“One thing I am saying repeatedly is that NAB does not believe in any political revenge, nor is it NAB’s role to involve itself in politics,” he said while addressing a cheque distribution ceremony here. “I will resign from office if a link that even remotely indicates that NAB is working underhandedly for political gains is established,” he said. “If even once it is proven that a NAB official including me has met any MNA, MPA or Senator, I will still resign from his post,” he continued. “We only need to enter politics […] to rid the country of corruption. NAB, as an institution, has always tried to take every necessary step to rid the country of corruption,” he added.

The NAB chairman asked why the watchdog will seek political revenge against any particular individual. “I respectfully ask them, why will we need to take revenge from you? You have not done anything against us,” he said. “If you have done something against the country […] there is no question of NAB overlooking it – no matter who it is, where they are from or what they have done,” he warned.

He said that the bureau has tried to reassure the people of Pakistan that NAB is neither seeking political revenge nor is the accountability watchdog’s attention focused on a particular group, but he believed that they have been unsuccessful in doing so. “If one group has been in power for 35 to 40 years and another has been in power for a few months, it is necessary to first conduct accountability of the former and then the latter will also be held accountable,” he said, without naming any political party. “Currently, they [those in power for months] are also being held accountable,” he said, while noting that all segments of the country, whether in power or not, are equal for the bureau.

Vowing that NAB is true to the state, the chairman said that while governments may change, the state remains constant and the primary motive of the anti-graft body is to counter corruption. Reiterating that anti-state actions will bear consequences, he said that the NAB as an institution is ‘devoted’ to its cause. He added that eradicating corruption can improve people’s standards of living. “NAB is working tirelessly to reform the nation’s institutions which were previously looting the public wealth,” he said.

“If instead of Rs5,000, Rs50,000 were being spent and instead of Rs 50,000, Rs 500,000 were being spent, NAB will certainly ask how these expenses were made,” the chairman said. “Cases today are not without a basis. There is a lot of evidence available. Time will tell what the result of the steps […] taken by NAB will be. Instead of making allegations against NAB, it will be better you spend this valuable time on your defence,” he said.

The NAB chairman said that some parliamentarians – including those under scrutiny by the watchdog – have called for the increased salaries of the bureau to be reduced and some have called to do away with the bureau altogether. “I want to say that Rs 326 billion were deposited by NAB in the national treasury. This is no ordinary revenue. The revenue generated by NAB […] is much more [than money being spent on the bureau],” he said. “I want to reassure the people that NAB is returning much more than the money being spent on it because we know that taxpayers pay our salaries. We know that the facilities that we have are due to the payment of taxes,” he added.

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