- And why it faces criticism from all sides
The PTI and its followers firmly believe that the Sharif brothers and their scions as well as the Zardaris are thoroughly corrupt and have stashed billions of dollars abroad looted from the state exchequer. Further, it is the duty of the courts now to award maximum punishment to these leaders now sitting in the Opposition. The NAB claims to have collected enough evidence to get numerous PML-N and PPP leaders sentenced to long jail terms. It was shocking for them when former CM Shehbaz Sharif was granted bail in Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases followed by former PM Nawaz Sharif released on six weeks bail for medical treatment. Their distress knew no bounds when LHC restrained NAB from arresting Hamza Shehbaz until April 17 after he had defied NAB’s two attempt to arrest him from his residence.
The PTI and its followers consider perceptions, rumours and wishful thinking enough material to sentence an accused. The courts however demand substantial proofs. The NAB has lost many more cases than it has won partly because it took up untenable cases and partly because of its primitive approach to investigation. The overzealous Bureau totally relies on repressive methods that include lengthy physical remands, character assassination through media and the type of humiliating treatment that allegedly led one of the accused to commit suicide. Its style of work and its lack of performance has drawn flak from the higher judiciary, the government and the opposition.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa asked why NAB was becoming “politicised,” as shown by lack of uniformity in its policy to investigate corruption cases. Justice Azmat Saeed had taken strong notice of NAB’s haphazard arrest policy. Justice Gulzar Ahmad wondered if the Bureau had ever achieved anything except plea bargains. Former CJ Saqib Nisar had observed how NAB was creating lacunae in cases, besides misbehaving with accused persons during interrogations.
NAB has lost more cases that it has won. Its investigation officers are strong on claims but weak on competence. Its legal team lacks proficiency. The government is unwilling to provide funds to NAB to hire talented officers but is keen to punish political opponents for whatever it takes!