NAB chairman says those in power for 30 years will be held accountable first

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal said, those that have been in power for 30  years will be audited first followed by those who have been in power for a few months.

Addressing a ceremony in Islamabad Iqbal said, “NAB does not believe in political revenge and neither does it want to be involved in politics. Our job is to eliminate corruption from the country. NAB as an institution is trying to take every step possible to eliminate corruption.”

Iqbal added, “Some people have been assured that NAB is taking political revenge or that NAB’s attention is focused towards one place.”

“A certain class has been in power for 30 to 40 years and the other has been in power for just a few months. It is important to hold those accountable that have been in power for 30 years. Next, we will audit those who have been in power for a few months and hold them accountable,” he added.

Iqbal further said it does not matter if a certain class is in power or not, everyone is equal in the eyes of NAB. “NAB does not look at the face but at the case. There have been numerous cases which NAB did not pursue due to a lack of evidence. There was never a question of political revenge,” he said, adding, the accountability watchdog is not in a dispute with anyone over property.

“Why would NAB take revenge?” Iqbal said. “Our first and last priority is Pakistan.”

“Those who come out of the courts and criticised the issuance of production order, that NAB is taking revenge, I want to ask them, why would NAB take revenge? You did not do anything to us or anything that was against the country or anyone else, then there is no question of forgiveness from NAB. It does not matter where you are from or who you are. If you have done something you will pay for it. This is NAB’s policy and we stand with it,” Iqbal asserted.

Iqbal further said it was very easy to chant slogans about political revenge or that NAB is doing a one-sided inquiry. “If you can prove that any NAB personnel including the NAB chairman met with any MNA or MPA, then I will resign from my post.”

“The newspapers keep saying NAB is conducting political engineering. NAB is not doing any political engineering. It is an institution made for the elimination of corruption and we have been successful to some extent in curbing it. No one is big or small near me or NAB. Everyone is equal in the eyes of NAB,” he added.

Iqbal added, “Those who were riding around on motorcycles in the 80s and 90s have properties in Dubai and London today. We should ask them from where did they acquire them. It is NAB’s responsibility to ask them about it.”

Speaking about the current cases under investigation, Iqbal said, “All cases under NAB investigation are there with evidence. Money laundering cases have evidence and in time we will tell how we conduct investigations. When the time comes we will present the evidence in courts, because it is not our job to hand punishment. We present evidence and the rest is up to the court.”

On the subject of no cases coming to an end, Iqbal said filing reference is NAB’s job. “1,250 cases are under way in court,” he said.

“People need to realise what had happened is because of evidence and proof. Nothing has happened because of political revenge. This is not because of some personal vendetta,” he lamented.

“We respect the Parliament and all its members. They are public representatives. There are a few members against whom there are cases and they started a campaign that NAB should be finished. I want to assure the nation that nothing is spent on NAB,” he added.