ISLAMABAD  -  The National Accountability Bureau Chairman Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal has imposed ban on private visits of the Bureau’s officers to foreign countries with immediate effect. The decision means that the officers will not be able to go abroad even for medical purposes or other family-related matters. “It is a violation of fundamental human rights,” an officer said on condition of anonymity. In a statement issued by NAB Wednesday said: “NAB Chairman Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal has imposed ban on private travelling of all NAB officers with immediate effect except performance of Umra. Making of schedule for visit abroad and reservation of tickets has also been stopped without approval of ex-Pakistan leave by the competent authority. Chairman NAB has directed all DGs to ensure compliance with all directions in letter and spirit and any delinquency will be treated strictly as per law.” The NAB officers will not be allowed to go abroad for study purposes after new policy. It was the first time in history of the NAB that the chairman put a ban on private travelling of NAB officers and even several female NAB investigation officers whose families were settled abroad were also prohibited from travelling abroad.

Talking to The Nation, a senior officer of Bureau criticised the new policy and said that NAB officers were always busy in high profile corruption investigations and faced several kind of threats and no rest in their lives during course of investigations, therefore, they needed to go on vocations once in a year. He said that the new policy was volition of basic rights of government servants. He mentioned that some female investigation officers’ families were living abroad and they used to go over there every year and there was a lobby in NAB which always spoke against women investigation officers. On the other hand, the NAB chairman said that Bureau was committed to root out corruption in all its forms and manifestations across the board with iron hands. He said that NAB had established state-of-the-art forensic science LAB in Islamabad which had facilities of digital forensics, questioned documents and fingerprint analysis which will be utilised for further improvements in the quality of inquiries and investigations in all respect.

The chairman NAB said that due to prescribed timeline of 10 months for efficient, effective and expeditious disposal of cases from complaint verification-to-inquiry-to-investigation and finally to a reference in the accountability court, NAB had filed 440 corruption references from Oct 2017 to September 2018 which was a record achievement.

He said that NAB had introduced a new concept of combine investigation team (CIT) to benefit from the experience and collective wisdom of senior supervisory officers, a system of CIT comprising director, additional director, investigation officer and a senior legal counsel had been put in place.

“This is not only lending quality to the work but also ensuring that no single individual can influence the official proceedings of NAB.”

He said that NAB had signed MOU with China to oversee CPEC projects being completed in Pakistan. He said that Transparency International (TI), PILDAT, Mishal, Gillani and Gallop Survey and World Economic Forum had appreciated NAB’s efforts for eradication of corruption.