NAB wants more powers!


AT a time when there are widespread complaints that the process of accountability is being used to settle political scores, Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) retired Justice Javed Iqbal has expressed desire to have Saudi Arabia like powers to retrieve looted money from the corrupt. Addressing traders and manufacturers at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in Lahore on Thursday, he also claimed that his institution has no role in the prevailing economic slowdown and that he received no complaint against NAB from traders during the last five months.
It is mandate of the NAB to recover corruption money and it has achieved some success as well but there are complaints about the modus operandi being used to realize this objective. The entire nation would be praising the institution if it succeeds in following a transparent and across the board accountability process, which, so far, remains a far off cry. It is not question of grant of more powers but use of these powers in a judicious manner and this is not just the case of NAB but other institutions as well including executive and judiciary that often flout laws and the Constitution for petty considerations. Saudi Arabia opted for ruthless accountability and succeeded but in Pakistan we reward the corrupt by entering into a formal agreement allowing him/her to digest one part of the looted money after depositing the other part with the NAB. As for impact of accountability drive on the economic activity, it was not a co-incident that as the Chairman was trying to reassure the business community, the Prime Minister announced formation of a Committee to look into issues and grievances of traders relating to NAB. Representatives of the business community also raised the issue with the Army Chief a day before and therefore, instead of denials practical steps should be issued to assuage apprehensions of the trading community. Every effort should be made to ensure that no businessman is harassed merely on the basis of his political affiliation or leanings as all of them are contributing to the economic activity, growth and development.

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