LAHORE   -   Head of National Accountability Bureau Javed Iqbal on Tuesday addressed senior public servants in Lahore and asked them to follow rules.

“If the bureaucracy will work as per law why the NAB will summon bureaucrats,” the NAB chairman said this while addressing provincial bureaucracy at the Civil Secretariat in Lahore. He said bureaucracy was the backbone of any system and, “if some fault appears in the backbone then it needed therapy.” Therefore, nobody should mind the therapy, he said.

“We should not have affiliation with any government. The governments come and go. We should be loyal to the country only. Our affiliation should be with the state of Pakistan. You (the bureaucrats) are implementing policies of the governments,” the NAB chief said.

Javed Iqbal further said that he would personally examine complaints against retired and in-service bureaucrats. “From now on, I have decided to personally examine complaints filed with NAB against secretaries and additional secretaries. I shall also examine complaints against retired and in-service bureaucrats. And if needed, then (only) questionnaires will be sent (to bureaucrats),” he announced. Thus, bureaucrats would not be arrested in surprise raids in future.

The national anti-graft authority arrested several bureaucrats including some police officers during the ongoing crackdown against corruption in the recent past. These officers were arrested during raids and later they were produced in the accountability courts handcuffed. Also, this crackdown triggered uncertainty among the bureaucracy.

The NAB chairman’s address to civil bureaucracy in Punjab comes at a time when federal government complained that bureaucracy was hindering official work due to fear of NAB.

According to official sources, the NAB chairman addressed bureaucrats in order to support and encourage the bureaucracy.

On this occasion, the chairman also answered different queries of the bureaucrats regarding NAB working. Javed Iqbal also announced that the NAB had appointed a focal person to improve coordination between NAB and bureaucracy.

The NAB chief further said that since investigation into white-collar crime was a complicated subject it took a lot of time. He also reiterated that the NAB would continue policy of “accountability for all” and would not succumb to any kind of pressure.

He also rejected propaganda that bureaucracy was not working due to the fear of NAB. He said that NAB was an independent institution. He said NAB had been investigating thousands of cases but only a few cases were related to the bureaucracy. “It was an organized propaganda to discourage the bureaucracy,” he said. The chairman said, “NAB is a human-friendly institution and it is our collective responsibility to fight corruption.”

Punjab Chief Secretary Yousaf Naseem thanked the chairman for building confidence of the public servants by appointing the focal person.