NAB Chief responds to critics; says there are no holy cows


NAB recoveries were made in form of physical assets such as property, land and wheat 

LAHORE   –  National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Javed Iqbal on Thursday defended the watchdog’s conduct after questions raised by political circles on the whereabouts of the monetary recoveries worth hundreds of billions of rupees made by the NAB.

Addressing a ceremony for cheque distribution worth Rs338.5 million, among affectees of Toyota Gujranwala Motors scandal and Public Health Engineering Cooperative Housing Society, he said that during last four years, the NAB had filed 1,270 references of Rs 1,386 billion in accountability courts while the NAB has also made possible the indirect recoveries of billions of rupees.

Javed Iqbal said that few days back, storm in the tea cup was created about the recoveries made by the anti-graft body and questions were raised about where the recovered amount was deposited. He said that NAB had recovered the land of Steel Mills, Fazaiyya Housing and handed over to the Sindh government while  value of lands recovered by NAB in Gwadar was in billions, he added.

Javed Iqbal termed the episode a “storm in a teacup”, adding that a bulk of the recoveries made by NAB were not in the form of cash or currency bills but in physical assets such as property, land and wheat etc.

“A complete audit of NAB has been carried out three times, and apart from few ordinary observations, nothing unusual or strange came to the fore,” he said. So when this storm in a teacup was created then the ones responsible did not know that NAB has kept a complete record of every single penny, Iqbal said.

The NAB chairman said that during the last four years, the accountability watchdog had registered 1,270 references involving a sum of Rs1,386 billion. He said none of the references were made up in the air, adding that the bureau would still be reviewing all the references filed.

Responding to criticism on NAB cases not reaching their conclusion, the chairman said a case reached its logical end when a reference was sent to the relevant court. He explained that deciding on cases was under the jurisdiction of accountability courts and not of the watchdog.

“If I had the authority to decide references then believe me it would not have taken years,” he maintained.

He said that the amount recovered by NAB was an entrusted property with the watchdog. The NAB chief also complained about the media over the matter, saying that he should have been asked about the issue of recoveries. Some people in politics wanted to keep themselves alive based on NAB, he said and added that their morning started with and their night ended on NAB. He said there should be criticism but it should be principled and informed.

The NAB Chairman said that non-issues related to NAB were made issues just to make the institution controversial as the NAB dared to ask them where did the billions and trillions of funds came from.

Some people could not even have imagined in their dreams that a time would come in Pakistan that they would be called and asked to tell where the amounts came from, the NAB chief said. He said that accusations against the watchdog should be substantiated with evidence.

Javed Iqbal said that if NAB has any sympathy then it was with the state and the country. There was no more unjust criticism than saying NAB was pro-government, he said. “There are no holy cows here.”

The NAB chairman called upon people to hold themselves accountable, saying if they did so, there would be no need for institutions such as NAB and the Federal Investigation Agency. He added that no institution or individual could eliminate corruption on their own.



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