LAHORE - NAB Deputy Chairman Imtiaz Tajwar has said that accountability will be made across the board in the country and where there will be corruption action will be taken accordingly.

He was addressing a seminar organised by Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBA) at Al-Hamra Centre yesterday.

The seminar - Institutional Empowerment and Independence - was presided over by Barrister Syed Ali Zafar while other speakers included Qamar Zaman Kaira of PPP, Umer Cheema of PTI, Siraj ul Haq of Jamat-e-Islami, Dr Khalid Ranjha of PML-Q, Ahsan ul Haq Wain of ANP and a few renowned journalists. From the legal fraternity, LHCBA president Rana Zia Abdul Rehman, Lahore District Bar president Muhammad Arshad Jhoja and former LHCBA president Ahmed Awais also attended the seminar.

The seminar was aimed at hearing the point of views of all political parties and media on the independence of the institutions and rule of law in order to send a message across the country that we want to progress as a nation and not individually.

SCBA president Mr Zafar said that in a democratic set up if the institutions are independent and allowed to perform their duties without fear or favour, then the true spirit of democracy flourishes in the country. “It is therefore of utmost importance that the anti corruption institutions are allowed to work freely and without any pressures from the government according to their SOPs for upholding the rule of law,” he added. Mr Zafar said that NAB must remain independent and free from any government pressures otherwise it will not be able to work effectively. He also quoted the statement of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in which he said that NAB was not working properly and there was a need to constitute a commission which will approve all the cases.

According to Mr Zafar, the move is against the principles of rule of law and the Constitution and will result weaken NAB in performing its legal duties.

He also stressed for changing the process of appointment; Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition mutually decide and appoint the NAB Chairman.

According to Mr Tajwar, the process of appointment of Chairman NAB must be free from any political interference. He suggested that the law requires amendment and as in the case of appointment of a judge, where all stakeholders are consulted, similarly, the appointments of head of NAB and other senior officers should be made transparently and based on merit. However, he also suggested that a check and balance must also be kept on the working of NAB so as to avoid any abuse of power because the power corrupts while the absolute power corrupts absolutely.

PPP leader Qamaruz Zaman Kaira said that it was the job of NAB or FIA to deal with financial corruption. However, he added, the process of accountability should not be for Karachi only.

Jamat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq said the NAB had yet not attained maturity despite its inception over a decade ago. He also questioned as to why government itself had been raising voice against NAB actions in Punjab.

PTI leader Umar Cheema said that political influence had damaged the institutions especially those responsible to investigate corruption.

ANP leader Ahsan Wain, Dr Khalid Ranjha and senior media persons including Arif Hameed Bhatti and Chaudhry Ghulam Hussain also spoke on the occasion.