ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday asked the newly-elected government to dissolve the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and hold its employees accountable.

PML-N has recently formed its government at the Centre being led by his party’s President Shehbaz Sharif. “NAB’s employees looted and tortured people for years. It’s time they should be held accountable,” Abbasi said while talking to the media here. He came down hard on the chairman of the Bureau, accusing him of “being fully under control” of PTI Chairman and former PM Imran Khan. He used to take instructions from the previous government, he added. He claimed that there was a minister in Imran Khan’s government who used to issue orders to the NAB chief regarding lodging fake cases, arresting people and defaming them. “This is your NAB chairman who stayed quiet on Imran Khan’s corruption,” the PML-N leader added.

As Imran Khan was being ousted from power, he claimed the joint opposition, which was behind the no-confidence move against him, wanted to form a government just to de-fang the watchdog to protect their “looted wealth” and get away with the corruption investigations underway against them. Former opposition parties PPP and PML-N had repeatedly accused the Imran-led PTI government and the corruption watchdog of a biased, one-sided, and politically-motivated witch-hunt. The National Accountability (Third Amendment) Ordinance 2021 last year stripped the SJC of the powers to remove NAB chairman and authorised the President to do so. Then PPP and PML-N had termed the ordinance “political vendetta” and an attempt to usurp the powers of the judiciary and bring NAB under the direct control of the prime minister. Abbasi had also said that the only purpose of the NAB ordinance was to target the PML-N.

Abbasi also lamented that NAB couldn’t prove a single reference or inquiry against PML-N leaders in the last four years. “Why didn’t they investigate people who were involved in corruption worth billions of rupees and were sitting in the federal cabinet,” Abbasi demanded. Now, he announced, was time to hold NAB accountable. “We are not taking revenge from anyone. We just want to expose reality of NAB in front of the public,” Abbasi said. He also revealed that govt would move courts for installation of cameras inside NAB courts so that public should know who is actually involved in corruption. The former PM also congratulated the nation on salvation from Naya Pakistan and said that all deeds of the National Accountability Bureau would bring to the light soon. “Where has he [Imran Khan] taken our country to? This government will have to decide now if it wants to run the country or the NAB,” he said.

He said the NAB officials, who kept violating the law and committing corruption, need to answer. He demanded, “The NAB should be abolished and its officials should be held accountable. Their cases should be covered live by installing cameras in the courts,” he demanded. He claimed the government will complete its term.