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Clarification: ‘NAB has no affiliation with any party, individual or group’

Clarification: ‘NAB has no affiliation with any party, individual or group’

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) issued a press release to clarify its position on an editorial published on May 15, 2020, by the Daily Dawn newspaper hereinafter referred to as “NAB’s politics” wherein a malicious attempt was carried out to malign the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) by casting aspersions over its excellent workings and on-going inquiries and investigations. The context used in the said editorial by the media house was premised on deliberate conjecturing and assumptions based on cherry picked surmises which is far from true facts and figures and ultimate aim were only to bring disrepute, discredit and to tarnish the image of NAB.

NAB has time and again clarified and announced and it has no affiliation with any party, individual or group and its affiliation is only with the State of Pakistan. NAB is an apex anti-corruption organization of the country which is mandated with the responsibility of eradication of corruption and to recover money from corrupt elements.  It has been time and again said by NAB in order to present a correct and unbiased picture to the general public as well as for the information of the readers of this media house must ascertain facts and avoid writing concocted, baseless, false, and incorrect editorials against NAB. Further, it is lamentable that this esteemed newspaper was founded by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the father of the nation who had termed corruption and nepotism as a curse.

NAB has totally rejected the editorial and has a reason to believe that the above false and fabricated editorial is not only contrary to facts but also prima facie reflects the biased attitude of the media house against NAB without any cogent piece of evidence. It is also a worrisome fact that the standards of journalistic reporting were not properly adhered to by this esteemed newspaper that it even did not bother to seek the official viewpoint of NAB as per law. Moreover, it is important to note here that the media house has started a malicious campaign against NAB which we have pointed out in many ways like verbal as well as in writing but still point of view by writing editorials as well as publishing of some stories is not taken as per law. The same editorial is ample witness of such claim of NAB as the editorial is based on misconceptions with a deliberate try to tarnish the image and repute of NAB as an institution whose performance is exemplary. Therefore, NAB has categorically denied and totally rejected the impression given in the editorial and called upon the media house to substantiate its malicious imputations through cogent and legally sound evidence, documentary, and/or otherwise. The entire defaming and concocted material is riddled with unadulterated malice based on vicious motives and illicit intent which is a question mark on the working of the media house who should have a viewpoint of NAB before writing editorial against NAB as per law.

It is also being reiterated over here with that NAB will not come under any propaganda campaign what so ever about it’s transparent, fair and meritocratic workings and will continue to nab corrupt elements and recover looted money from them and deposit in the national exchequer. NAB during the leadership of Honorable Mr. Justice Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB has recovered Rs. 178 billion directly and indirectly from corrupt elements which is a record achievement.

The mandate under the NAO 1999 empowers NAB to initiate proceedings against holders of public office, or any other persons for corruption and corrupt practices and to recover looted money. Therefore, the media house’s assertion that “The conduct of NAB has become so controversial that it is very difficult to believe that its actions are not laced with partisan politicking” is wholly untrue and speaks a lot of its venom against NAB. NAB’s across the board actions against mighty speak louder than words.

NAB has filed two references against Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and others on the basis of solid evidence of corruption and misuse of authority in the Accountability Courts Islamabad as per law which are under trial. As far as cases against Sharifs are concerned, NAB has allegedly solid evidence on the basis of statements of witnesses and documentary proofs etc against them. Besides, NAB is providing ample opportunity to Sharifs to confront the documentary evidence and record their statements as per law in line with the true spirit of justice, transparency and fair play.

On the previous account, NAB had asked the media house to publish a rebuttal to one of its published stories which were wholly untrue. The newspaper on June 18, 2015, after a period of 28 days published NAB’s clarification at a belated stage but also regretted. Moreover, the newspaper had published another news report with regards to the business community on February 23, 2016, which was rebutted by NAB. The media house had published the rebuttal in its letters to the editor section on February 25, 2016, which was contrary to journalistic ethos and principles of publishing as the rebuttal ought to be placed on the same page where the original story was published with same magnitude as per law.

As far as the performance of NAB is concerned, NAB is the focal organization of Pakistan under the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Pakistan is the only country that has signed an MOU with China through NAB to oversee ongoing projects under CPEC. It is due to the efforts of NAB, Pakistan had become the first head of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s (AARC) Anti-Corruption Forum. NAB has recovered Rs. 328 billion from corrupt elements and deposited in national exchequer since its inception. NAB under the dynamic leadership of Honorable Mr. Justice Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB during the last 28 months, recovered about Rs. 178 billion directly and indirectly from corrupt elements and deposited in the national exchequer which is a remarkable achievement. NAB has introduced the concept of the Combined Investigation Team (CIT) system in order to benefit from collective wisdom which is lending quality. NAB has also established its own Forensic Science Laboratory in order to have the forensic analysis of fingerprints, questioned documents, digital forensic in order to save time, ensure secrecy and quality of investigation. NAB has established its own Pakistan Anti-Corruption Academy to provide state of the art training facilities to its investigation officers and prosecutors on modern lines. NAB’s prosecution division is vigorously pursuing the corruption cases in the respected courts as per law and our overall conviction ratio in Accountability Courts is approximately 70 percent.  The reputed national and international organizations like Transparency International Pakistan, World Economic Forum, PILDAT, Mishal Pakistan, and as per survey of Gillani and Gallop, 59 percent of people have shown trust upon NAB. NAB has filed 1229 corruption references in the respected Accountability Courts wherein the respected Accountability Court is to decide the reference as per clause 16 (a) of NAB Ordinance 1999 within one month as per law.

It is also imperative to accentuate that as per Section 31 (a) of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999, this nefarious attempt comes under the garb of hampering of inquiry and investigation which is synonymous with obstruction of justice. The verbatim of Section 31 (a) is reproduced for ready reference;

“Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, if any person concerned with the inquiry and investigation and prosecution of a case consciously and deliberately and with malice aforethought compromises, hampers, misleads, jeopardizes or defeats an investigation of a case under process before NAB or any concerned agency or authority or any Court or an Accountability Court, he shall be deemed to have committed the scheduled offense of corrupt practice and/or corruption.”

NAB under the dynamic leadership of Honorable Mr. Justice Javed Iqbal strongly believes in eradication of corruption from the country in all its forms and manifestations as per law. NAB is committed to work according to NAB Ordinance, 1999 as per law. NAB is a people-friendly institution that always ensures protecting the self-esteem of all persons visiting NAB offices. Conveying such kind of impression to the public through incorrect, false, concocted and baseless reporting and posing mere allegations against the transparent working of NAB is unfair, unjustified and is a part of malicious campaign against NAB whose faith is corruption-free Pakistan.

NAB hopes that in the true spirit of responsible journalism, an effort would always be made to verify the authenticity of facts and figures about the ongoing inquiries and investigations before writing any editorial as well as publishing any news related to NAB by the management of daily Dawn newspaper and clarification of NAB will be published in Daily Dawn newspaper with same prominence and magnitude as the editorial was published on May 15, 2020 as per law. NAB has once again asked the management of this media house to kindly avoid publishing concocted and baseless news/editorials against NAB and to obtain official point of view of NAB before publishing any news/editorial which is legal and fundamental right of NAB as per law.