National Assembly questions role of NAB

WEB DESK: The National Assembly on Thursday questioned the role of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and called for making it a “fair and transparent” accountability mechanism.

The opposition as well as the government is in favour to review the accountability system of the NAB and evolve a mechanism for the appointment of its Chairman. While raising the matter regarding the performance of NAB on the floor of the House, Imran Zafar Laghari of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) severally criticised the role of NAB and said the interference of NAB in provinces is illegal and unconstitutional.

“It is a national action plan of NAB to blackmail and to change the political loyalty,” he claimed. Laghari said, We have to sit together and evolve a mechanism to improve the accountability system to eradicate corruption in the country. Murad Saeed of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said there is need to eradicate the option of ‘plea bargain’ in the NAB. He said that NAB is encouraging a ‘travesty of justice’ by offering plea bargain to those accused of corruption. He said that NAB provides a choice of ‘plea bargain’ to offenders accused of corruption or misuse of authority.

He said there is also a need to eliminate the role of Leader of House (PM) and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly for appointment of the NAB Chairman. He said for this purpose a parliamentary committee should be constituted for appointment of the NAB Chairman. The PTI leader said that NAB should have submitted its annual report to the President but it is not doing so. He said that NAB should play its role freely and independently. He claimed that the Prime Minister criticised the role of NAB when the cases of Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the Punjab Chief Minister came under the spotlight. He said, “today questions are being raised on the investment of billion of dollars of the Prime Minister and Finance Minister in foreign countries.”

Former Prime Minister and senior parliamentarian Mir Zafarullah Jamali of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said the present NAB chairman had been appointed not only with the consultation of the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader but with the consent of all political parties.

“We should avoid point scoring and truth should be told to the House. Whenever, we will not tell truth in the House, nobody will believe in the House. We can reduce the corruption but we cannot eliminate it,” he said. Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid said that there is a need to make the accountability system fair, transparent and prestigious.

He said all the points raised by the members of the House are considerable and the government has no objections. He said the members should give their proposals to bring changes in the NAB’s laws. He said the government will welcome the proposals of the Parliament to improve accountability system. The Minister said the NAB Chairman has also admitted that there is a need to improve the accountability system. He said that in the past the NAB was used for ‘political victimisation’ and to split the political parties.