NAB faces bomb threats after launch of mega probes

Bureau chief says some people want ‘political martyrdoms’ through arrests in run up to polls, NAB detains PML-N candidate contesting election against Ch Nisar

Lahore - NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal on Monday revealed that the anti-corruption watchdog had received threats that its headquarters would be blown up with explosives.

He said the threats had been received after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) launched investigations in mega corruption scandals, but did not specify a time period.

Addressing officers at the NAB’s Lahore complex, the chief asserted that the bureau officials were not afraid and would continue to perform their duties with dedication.

“But the decision of life and death rests with Allah… Our struggle against corruption and malpractices will continue,” he vowed.

Since Javed Iqbal took charge in October last year, NAB has filed 101 references out of 179 mega corruption cases registered with the watchdog.

The new chairman immediately after taking office had ordered the prosecution division of the bureau to finalise all 179 mega corruption investigations as soon as possible.

During a performance review meeting in April, it was revealed that investigations in 101 cases had been concluded, and that references had been filed in the respective accountability courts.

A private TV channel also quoted Justice (r) Javed as saying, “Some people want the anti-graft body to arrest politicians so that they become political martyrs ahead of the elections.”

“But the NAB makes arrests on the basis merit in cases under investigation, not on anyone’s wishes,” he added.

The NAB chief said that they aimed to safeguard only Pakistan’s interests and eliminate corruption from the country. He said the anti-graft body “looks at cases, not the faces” and it had nothing to with the elections.

Javed Iqbal lamented that some people had made a habit of not appearing before the anti-graft body, despite summons.

He said that alleged irregularities worth billions were found in companies scandal in Punjab. When the time came, NAB would make it clear as to corruption worth how many billions was recorded in the country, he added.

He said that all the corruption cases would be forwarded to accountability courts with concrete evidence.

Islam Raja arrested

NAB arrested on Monday Engineer Qamarul Islam Raja – a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate contesting against party’s disgruntled leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan from Rawalpindi’s NA-59 constituency – in Saaf Pani scam.

Along with Qamar, the bureau has also arrested former Punjab P&D secretary Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry, who has served as CEO of Saaf Pani Company in the past.

A spokesperson for the national corruption watchdog has confirmed the development.

Raja was nominated as PML-N’s candidate from NA-59 and PP-10 on Sunday. Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is contesting from both these constituencies.

Raja was elected as an MPA on PML-N ticket from PP-5 (now PP-10) in the 2013 general elections. He was one of the members of the Board of Directors of Punjab Saaf Pani Company. On May 11, 2018, Qamarul Islam was grilled by a combined investigation team of NAB Lahore in connection with ongoing inquiry into the scam.

On June 4, former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif was also appeared before the NAB investigators in the scam.

Saaf Pani Company is one among 56 public limited companies formed by the Punjab government soon after assuming power in the province in 2013. All these companies are now under the NAB’s radar.

Earlier in April, the bureau had arrested four accused involved in Saaf Pani scam including chief technical officer in Saaf Pani Company Dr Zahirud Din, consultant engineer Muhammad Saleem Akhtar, chief procurement officer Nasir Qadir Bhaddar and managing director  Masood Akhtar.

After a change of hearts, the PML-N on Sunday decided to field party candidates against Chaudhry Nisar who announced to contest next general elections independently. Observers are of the opinion that Qamar is a strong candidate against Nisar.

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