NAB has been in the news these past few days for some strange reasons. Of course, with the NRO decision, NAB is sure to be in the headlines. But lately, it has not for the reasons that we would expect. These recent headlines raise the question, what is NAB’s agenda?
On Friday, Chairman of NAB Naveed Ahsan had to call Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar to apologize for including him on the ECL and stopping him from leaving to a meeting in Beijing. This episode caused embarrassment for the Minister not only, but also Pakistan internationally as it created a perception that there was chaos in Islamabad.
Yesterday, Dawn reported that Former Secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan said that the National Accountability Bureau tried to use ECP to proceed against Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari in 2005.
During an interview with DawnNews, Kanwar Dilshad claimed that the bureau, infamous for political victimisation in the past, forced the ECP to file fraud cases against the couple.
‘In 2005, NAB pressurised us to file cases against Benazir and Zardari for filing wrong assets. But we refused to do so because we believed our impartiality would be affected,’ Dilshad stated.
The then NAB Chairman Shahid Aziz agreed with the Election Commission’s viewpoint, but after much convincing. Now that the fate of President Zardari is again in the limelight following the Supreme Court’s judgement against the NRO, some claim that with the sudden termination of the ordinance, President Zardari should be considered ineligible for the presidential elections, he already won in 2008.
But none of the presidential candidates ever raised objections against his candidature.
‘No candidate ever raised objection against the candidatures of Mr Zardari. Mushahid Hussain was the candidate of the PML-Q and Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui was the candidate of the PML-N. Both of them did not file any complain to the ECP to reject the nomination papers of Mr Zardari,’ said Dilshad.
This raises important questions. If NAB is supposed to be charged with accountability, who is holding them accountable? And does NAB have some agenda that is influencing the way that they are proceeding?