Alleged manhandling of Khaqan


ACCORDING to media reports, former Prime Minister and PML(N) stalwart Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has allegedly been manhandled by an investigation officer of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The officer reportedly got infuriated over responses he got from Abbasi during investigations, first shouted at him and then physically assaulted besides throwing a glass at him.
If true, this is one of the most regrettable incidents and demands thorough probe by a neutral agency as apart from being a question of protecting honour, prestige and self-respect of a noble and honest politician, it would add another bad spot on the overall reputation of the Bureau and raise more doubts about the process of accountability itself. The NAB is legally mandated to probe allegations of corruption and it has, in some respects, done commendable job in promoting the culture of transparency in the government business but use of this mandate and power by its investigating officers like constables of Punjab Police is highly deplorable. There is absolutely no justification to treat suspects of white collar crimes like hard core criminals or use of third degree during investigations. Shouting and physical assault are reflective of frustration over failure to extract something that could be used or misused against the person being probed in allegations of corruption or misuse of authority. The incident is particularly worrisome as earlier media reports suggested that NAB could not get hold of even a shred of evidence against Abbasi in the original case or allegations on which he was taken into custody i.e. something fishy in the LNG deal with Qatar. We have been hearing wild allegations on the issue but neither the Government nor the Bureau has so far been able to get any evidence to prosecute Abbasi and now he is being questioned in other cases, which is nothing but after-thought. There is widely held perception and rightly so that NAB apprehends required people first and then launches probe into allegations of corruption which smacks of foul-play. As for Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, he belongs to the rare breed of politicians that is sincere with the country, honest to the core, straight forward, going by the book and work-alcoholic. They need respect in an otherwise free for all politics and governance and their treatment like this is an insult to the entire nation. Abbasi should be brought before media to ascertain veracity of allegations of his manhandling and action taken in this case and prevention of recurrence of such incidents in future.

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