ISLAMABABAD - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) here on Tuesday indicated that it would not arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf while he is in office in connection with the implementation of Supreme Court order in the Rental Power Projects (RPPs) case, TheNation has learnt.
NAB will neither arrest the Prime Minister nor send a reference against him while he is in his office, a source in the NAB privy to the development said. He further said that chief of the country’s top anti-corruption watchdog NAB personally believed that it was his prerogative to get approved a reference against the accused or close the case against him while thoroughly going into the evidence and not the Supreme Court’s.
“Our Supreme Court wants to try and punish politicians in high office, while they hold office. Perhaps that is a welcome thing; perhaps not. This has to be debated,” a senior official of the NAB said on condition of anonymity.
The official said that the most recent example, which they had of constitutional immunity guaranteed to the top politicians, was that of French President Sarkozy. “He was accused of committing crimes while in office; evidence was available, but the French courts did not move against him as long as he held office; because of the protection provided to him by the constitution,” he said adding that the moment the president got out of the office, the court indicted him, tried, and punished.
An informed source said that the Bureau had made a comprehensive plan to put an iron hand on some the accused in RPPs cases and some arrests were likely in the next 24 hours.
NAB spokesman Zafar Iqbal Khan avoiding a question, what would be the course of action of NAB with regard to the implementation of the apex court’s sort order and whether the Bureau would arrest the Prime Minister or not, said that NAB had tried its best to abide by the orders of the SC.
He said that it had sent notification to the Ministry of Interior and the Establishment Division, asking them to place all these people named by the worthy SC on ECL.
“NAB can only request the SC that we can do our best if supported by the SC; we cannot, if the SC continues to malign us. We are supportive of the judicial system, not opposed to it and we hope that this judicial system will help us deliver,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chairman NAB Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bokhari flew to Karachi soon after announcement of the SC in RPPs cases. According to some unofficial and unconfirmed reports, the NAB chief had gone to Karachi to meet President Asif Ali Zardari to discuss with him about the situation arising out of the apex court’s decision.
However, the Chairman NAB while talking to reporters at the airport said that he was visiting the metropolitan city on personal reasons.
Meanwhile, the National accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday rejected a report aired by BBC that Chairman NAB Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bokhari had resigned in the aftermath of the SC short order regarding arrest of all the 16 and 22 accused separately in two cases of Rental Powers Projects being probed by the Bureau.
BBC on Tuesday had reported that the Chairman NAB had resigned. NAB officially said that the report about the resignation of Chairman NAB was untrue and devoid of facts. “Chairman NAB has repeatedly stated that he will not resign; that he has a mission to work for poor people of Pakistan, which he will complete and will not resign,” the bureau said in his official version.
According to some media reports, some person impersonating as Chairman NAB Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bokhari had made a phone call to the BBC office and claimed that he had resigned but later revealed that the person was not Chairman NAB but a fake one.