ISLAMABAD -  Following criticism from the Supreme Court and other quarters over the performance of NAB chairman, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Saturday questioned the procedure of appointment of the chief of country's top anti-corruption watchdog.

“The apex court should appoint the NAB chairman as the bureau could not remain independent through present procedure of appointment of its chief,” the minister said this while informally talking to a select group of reporters at the Punjab House.

"How NAB can be independent if the government and opposition would appoint its chairman," Nisar said.

Nisar also deplored over the recent plea-bargain deal by NAB with the former finance secretary Balochistn who is accused of corruption of billions.

He said that plea-bargain law was only meant to give a safe way to thieves.

The minister viewed the NAB should have administrative and financial autonomy.

He added that there were many flaws in the NAB law and his government had made attempts to amend it but the PPP was not ready to cooperate. He reminded that PPP was not ready to amend it even it had a majority in the Senate.

The minister also made it clear that former president and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari did not return Pakistan through a deal. He said that neither deal was struck with him nor any guarantee or assurance was given to him. He dispelled the rumours that the government struck a deal with Asif Ali Zardari and Dr Asim would be freed as a result of this. "The deal has become a catchy word," he said and added that Zardari did not need any deal as neither his name was on ECL nor any FIR was registered against him.

The minister ruled out any impressions or rumours that he would be a candidate for the office of the Prime Minister in the future. He said during his 35 years in politics, he got many opportunities but was not a candidate for this slot. He said he was a content person and believed that not the offices but character brought respect to a man.

"I never stabbed in the back or conspired,” he said and added that he had no desired for any office through the back-door conspiracies. 

Talking about the performance of the government, he said the country faced an emergency like situation due to failures of the previous governments. He mentioned that his government inherited power crisis, bad law and order situation and shattered economy but the situation on all three fronts is better now. However, he said, the masses would better judge the government performance in the next general elections. There are many things half-done at present and the masses will make better decision through the ballot in 2018 polls, he said.

Nisar said that PPP was critical on him because the FIA under his government fast-tracked some inquiries in corruption cases, including EOBI and TDAP against its leadership. This was done on the directions of SC but PPP did not want that these cases should be investigated. PPP had pushed these cases under the carpet during its regime, he said.