ISLAMABAD  - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is in a fix how to initiate accountability process in six pending references against the recently retired President of the Country and in three references against the sitting Prime Minister and his family sans appointment of its chairman.

Interestingly, the sitting premier and the PPP nominee, leader of Opposition Khurshid Shah, have been entrusted with the constitutional responsibilities to find a suitable chairman for the top accountability body of the country, a process having become tedious and time consuming. The constitutional appointment process of its chairman coupled with the political appointments of the last regime is not allowing the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to kick start the accountability process against PPP supremo and recently retired president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari even though he retired on Sept 8 last month which also automatically ended his constitutional immunity from criminal proceedings.       

The NAB authorities have sought comments from its Prosecution Division regarding the reopening of pending cases against former President Asif Ali Zardari as he completed his five years term as the President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan on September 8th this year sources told The Nation on Monday.

“Interestingly, the Prosecution Division that is headed by the Prosecutor General Accountability (PGA) K.K Agha, who was appointed by the former president has not yet answered to the NAB authorities regarding further legal course of action though more than twenty days have passed,” the sources added.

According to details, NAB has six cases pending against former President Asif Ali Zardari and these references were stopped up in the Accountability Court Rawalpindi on 28 January 2010 as the principal accused in the cases were elected as the President of Pakistan and he enjoyed the immunity in accordance with the article (248) of the constitution of Pakistan.

In these pending cases Grant of licences to M/S ARY Traders for import of Gold/Silver and thus causing loss to public exchequer amounting to Rs182 Crores 24 Lacs and 74 thousand. The case was pended as the accused Asif Ali Zardari being President of Pakistan has Constitutional immunity and proceedings against him shall revive after removal of constitutional immunity the sources added. In this case the court has acquitted accused Brig(R) Aslam Hayat Qureshi, Salman Farooqui, Abdul Rauf, Jan Muhammad  and Abdul Razzaq Yaqoob.

The case against Benazir Bhutto has already been abated due to her death and the court has termed Javed Talat and Jens Schlegelimilch proclaimed offenders and has issued their non-bailable warrants. The second case pending against former president was about the receiving of kickbacks and commissions by the accused from SGS and PSI companies. In this case the court acquitted the accused A.R Siddiqui and other accused namely Jens Schlegelimilch, Hans Fischer, Colin Robey, Olivier De Brreakeller, Michel Lysewyes, Michael Warrow, David Murray, William Boyd, R Rijken including Andrea Ralph was declared proclaimed offenders.

The third pending case was regarding the kickbacks in pre-shipment (Cotechna Case) in this case A.R Siddiqui was acquitted by the court. The case against Benazir Bhutto and Nusrat Bhutto was abated due to their deaths and six foreigners namely Chris Clarck, William J Poppleton, John A Broadhurst , Ian Durham , Bently,  NJH Moffet and Jen Schlegelimilch were declared proclaimed offenders.

The fourth pending case was Green Tractor Scheme ,in this case the court acquitted Muhamad Yousaf Talpur  and A.M.H Kangu. The case against Benazir Bhuttoo and Badur-u-din Zaidi was abated due to their deaths. In fifth pending case of assets beyond known source income was withdrawn and terminated by operation of law. The sixth pending case was about illegal construction of Polo Ground and other ancillary work at PM House in violation of the rules and procedure and misuse of office by the accused. In this case the court has acquitted Saeed Mehdi, the case against Shafi Sehwani was abated due to his death the former President enjoyed the constitutional immunity.

“Similarly, the NAB among others, the cases against the PML-N President and incumbent Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif were on hold,” the sources said. The saga started during former president Pervez Musharraf’s regime when in 2001, three cases, including the Ittefaq Foundries’ wilful loan default case, Hudaibiya Paper Mills case and a case of assets beyond means were filed against the Sharif brothers and their family.

These cases were sent to NAB and the bureau filed three references in an accountability court in 2001. The accountability court in April 2001 adjourned the cases sine die as the accused were not present in the country. NAB moved the court in 2007 for reopening the cases against the Sharif brothers when the honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan allowed Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan but once again, he was sent back to Saudi Arabia after landing at the Islamabad airport.

Then again in 2008 and 2010, NAB moved the accountability court for recommencement of the cases but the court refused NAB’s point of view and directed the then Deputy Prosecutor General to furnish an application duly signed by the chairperson NAB and again adjourned the cases. Last year in October, the Sharif brothers filed a writ petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking quashing of these cases and luckily they were granted a stay order regarding these cases by the honourable court.