NAB gets new head



The federal government appointed on Saturday Lt Gen (R) Nazir Ahmad Butt as the new Chairman of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for three years after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz, reached a consensus on the name of the retired general. The post fell vacant after ex-NAB chief Aftab Sultan walked out of the powerful office last month citing pressure and interference.

NAB is an important national institution, therefore, the Government has done well by expediting the selection process for its head after the resignation of the previous Chairman. It is, however, regrettable that the Opposition is trying to make the new appointment controversial by claiming that due process of consultation did not take place. As per version of former Information Minister and PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, the process of appointing the NAB chief has become controversial as the Lahore High Court has suspended the notification through which resignations of several PTI lawmakers was accepted by NA Speaker. Fawad added that PTI has already nominated Shah Mahmood Qureshi as the Opposition Leader, saying in this context the consultation process between the government and the opposition was legally incorrect. His claims are fallacious as Raja Riaz is still legal leader of the opposition and would remain so until and unless the Speaker National Assembly, who has the final authority in this regard, nominates someone else. It is also a fact that the LHC has not reinstated membership of those who offered their resignations earlier and, therefore, there was no legal status of PTI nominating Shah Mahmood Qureshi for the purpose. The appointment has been made with the consensus of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and attempts to make the appointment controversial are nothing but political point scoring.

The new Chairman is a thorough professional and has a rich background of administrative experience. Known as an upright officer, General Nazir Butt, apart from other important assignments, served as corps commander Peshawar, President of National Defence University and Military Secretary to three prime ministers and, therefore, has complete understanding of the government structure and working, a pre-requisite for any head of NAB to discharge his professional obligations in a satisfactory manner. The appointment of the new Chairman is not controversial but the institution itself has become controversial because of the lopsided approaches and policies pursued in the past. There have been consistent reports that the institution is being used as a tool to victimize political opponents, an impression which gained further during the entire tenure of the PTI Government when only the opposition leaders were roped in whereas those behind infamous scams were left untouched. Corruption has assumed alarming proportions and NAB has to play its part well to weed out the menace as the country cannot move ahead at the required pace when corruption is rampant in different departments and institutions. It may also be pointed out that ever since its inception, the focus of the accountability body has all along been on the political leadership while people suffer at the hands of corrupt elements in most of the public dealing offices. A significant chunk of the budget (especially funds mean

t for development and procurement) is pocketed by these elements every year and they must be held accountable.