Speaking exclusively to Waqt News, National Accountability Bureau Chairman, Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bokhari likened corruption to a river which needed to be stopped at source, instead of trying to catch all the fish thriving in it. His observation that the bureaucracy, like the judiciary, had to be freed of the influence of politicians hit the nail on the head; for political interference in deals involving huge sums of money is a major cause of corruption and is impossible without the help of the bureaucracy. If politicians’ interference can be removed entirely, of course it would make it easier to focus on corruption at the bureaucratic level - but that is a utopic wish and would that it could be as easily achieved as said. Nevertheless with serious efforts, something resembling it could be possible. The menace of corruption could be largely contained. We hope that the forthcoming general elections throw up an honest enough leadership imbued with the passion of building the nation, rather than lining their own pockets.

The Admiral answered questions about several other corruption scandals. Denying that anyone involved in the rental power plant fiasco had escaped from the country, he said that Interior Ministry officials were being probed for not putting their names on the ECL. About the NLC scam he took the plea that the NAB mandate excluded investigation into the role of personnel of the armed forces. In a recent meeting with the COAS, it was decided to simply exchange records. The NAB chief stated that Malik Riaz, who had been associated with the military for decades, has not been found guilty in the two probes conducted against him on account of the sale of the tile of ‘Bahria’ to him. The Punjab Anti-Corruption Department tried to involve Malik Riaz, he charged, in a case of political vendetta. The Admiral said that since his joining as the NAB chairman, the bureau had recovered Rs 23 billion and prevented corruption amounting to Rs 16 billion. It is highly unfortunate that corruption has become rife in almost every nook and cranny of the country, involving high as well as low; in fact, anyone who could possibly take advantage of the situation seems to be resorting to it. There is need for the Supreme Court, the NAB and other anti-corruption bodies in the country to remove this blot from society, while also not lagging behind in pinpointing cases for these agencies to handle.