- Don’t talk, concentrate on preparing cases
The PPP and PML-N leadership are pondering over taking NAB Chairman Mr Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal to court over remarks made allegedly by him avowedly during an interview to a senior journalist.
NAB was set up by a military ruler who armed it with the type of arbitrary powers that suited his designs. NAB can arrest anyone without first collecting evidence against him. It has power to keep an accused person in its custody for three months. NAB has meanwhile evolved a highly questionable style of work. It takes recourse to media trial and subjects the accused in its custody to humiliating treatment in violation of human dignity. It is pure fiction to claim that NAB arrests a person only after it has in its possession sufficient incriminating evidence against him. The university professors who were taken into NAB custody and paraded in handcuffs were allowed to go free because the NAB had no proof against them. The same was the case with MPA Abdul Aleem Khan who was freed after three months of widely propagated accusations and unjustified incarceration. Fear of humiliating treatment by NAB has led to two kinds of response from those shadowed by the Bureau, suicide or fleeing the country.
On Monday the Supreme Court announced a verdict posthumously acquitting a suspect in a corruption reference filed by NAB. The deceased had been sentenced to 14 years in jail and a fine of over Rs750 million in 2002 for corruption by an accountability court. The High Court later reduced the sentence from 14 to five years. Rejecting the voluminous reference filed by NAB, the Supreme Court dismissed the charges made in it as untenable.
The Supreme Court judgment constitutes a reflection on the careless way NAB prepares its cases. The judgment highlights the fact that unless an accused has exhausted all venues of appeal, he cannot be declared a culprit. This should serve as a lesson to those who claim that such and such person will be in jail even before a case has been filed against them. This should also deter the PTI leaders and workers from accusing people of theft and dacoity simply because a case has been filed against them by NAB.