ISLAMABAD - In a tamed response to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s bash, the National Accountability Bureau yesterday said the process of accountability would be further improved in the light of the proposals of the PM.

Though a strong response was expected from the accountability bureau which always claims its autonomy, but what came out was nothing but a subservient reply to a master. In a statement, NAB said it respects the views of the PM, but the Bureau has inherited some of the shortcomings and that steps are being taken to rectify them.

The national anti-corruption watchdog opened its lips after a day of the PM’s criticism on the role of NAB last Tuesday for clearing its position. The PM had asked the NAB chairman to stop harassing government officers without proper verification of allegations. The speech of the PM was a clear signal for NAB to continue its operation, but remaining within limits and avoiding to entertain every complaint against the government’s ongoing projects and officials. The NAB’s credibility touched new skies with the submission of 150 mega scams against bigwigs, including the prime minister, the Punjab chief minister, Ishaq Dar and others, in the apex court last year. Later, the Bureau launched operations in Sindh and arrested several corrupt persons for their alleged involvement in different mega corruption scams. NAB is looking into every mega project of the government whether completed or under construction. The Bureau has started investigation into Rawalpindi-Islamabad metro bus project on complaints from citizens. In this case, the Bureau has asked Statement Bank of Pakistan to provide complete bank details about metro bus project chairman Hanif Abbasi, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and former Rawalpindi commissioner. NAB had also arrested the contractor of Orange Line on the charge of bogus payments of Rs 50 million.

NAB was established in 1999 as the apex anti-corruption organization assigned with the responsibility of elimination of corruption through a holistic approach of awareness, prevention and enforcement and recovery of looted money. It operates under the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999. NAB has its headquarters in Islamabad while it has eight regional bureaus in Karachi, Lahore, Pehsawar, Quetta, Sukkur, Multan, Gilgit Baltistan and Rawalpindi.

NAB CHAIRS MEETING AT

LAHORE OFFICE

INP adds: NAB Chairman Major (r) Qamar Zaman Chaudhry on Wednesday gave a free hand to Punjab Director General (DG) to speed up action against corrupt officials.

Chairman held a meeting in Lahore office of the institution which was attended by Punjab DG Syed Burhan Ali and other officials.

During the meeting the NAB Chairman ordered the Punjab officials to accelerate action and launch indiscriminate probes against corrupt officials.

The Director General briefed the Chairman over Education Minister Rana Mashood’s video case, youth festival case and cases against PPP leader Asif Hashmi.

NAB Chairman appreciated Punjab subdivision’s efforts to curb corruption and faulty practices. He directed DG to expedite inquiries of cases against government officials and other politicians.

He instructed the Director General to carry on investigations against corrupt officials without succumbing to external pressure from any section. He urged DG Burhan Ali to take such steps that 2016 is dubbed as ‘the year of National Accountability Bureau Punjab chapter’.

It is pertaining to mention that in December 2015, the Bureau had summoned Education Minister Rana Mashood to record his statement in corruption reference pertaining to students youth festival.

The probe was deferred by Investigation Officer for an indefinite period after recording statement of the accused. The provincial Education Minister had pleaded not guilty.