Harassment of businessmen

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THE Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday observed that the anti-graft body might apprehend businessmen for their crimes and proceed in accordance with the law but they should not be humiliated.

The observation was made by a three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial, which heard the appeal filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the verdict of Lahore High Court (LHC) removing the name of an accused from Exit Control List (ECL).

There is no denying the fact that businessmen are not angels and many of them frequently indulge in corrupt practices, which fall within the purview of the NAB.

Serious and prompt action is warranted when losses are inflicted on the national exchequer due to wrongdoings or reputation of the country is damaged because of fraudulent practices by some members of the business community.

However, it is also a fact that frequent and undue interventions by the NAB amount to jeopardizing economic and financial activities in the country as neither bureaucrats are willing to take decisions for fear of being probed by the NAB nor businessmen take risks for the same reason.

There have been demands that NAB should move against the accused only after getting hold of undeniable evidence and present its case well in accountability courts to get verdicts expeditiously.

Similarly, no arrests should be made prematurely and cases must not be unduly publicized.

The court has also done well by rejecting the plea of the Bureau for placing the name of the accused on the ECL, rightly pointing out that businessmen have to visit abroad for business purposes and should not be harassed.

These issues have repeatedly been hammered by courts and different segments of the society and it is time NAB reviews its policy.

 

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