The Fraud that is NAB is Now Getting Exposed

Pakistan’s Establishment loves to live in the shadows and hates it when the light is shone on its work or its institutions. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is one such institution that is notorious for being harsh on those who oppose the establishment and soft on those who side with the deep state.

In the recently released report by the European Union (EU) Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP+) on Pakistan covering 2018-2019, the Commission has denounced the NAB ”for being partial against the opposition politicians and soft on government leaders and deterioration of media freedom and underlined the necessity for proper investigation and prosecution of cases of intimidation, abduction, and killing of human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists in its joint staff working document.”

The 33-page document cited by The News, “said to-date there have been no prosecutions for enforced disappearance or extrajudicial killings. Despite the publicly expressed position of elected representatives of the government and active consultations and discussions on the matter, there is no progress in this area. “Shrinking space for civil society, a crackdown on freedom of expression, curtailing media freedom and impunity for crimes against journalists and human rights defenders are areas of serious concern.””

Below are some excerpts from the document, cited by The News:

“The majority of complaint investigations being conducted by the NAB are towards opposition leaders. Very few cases of the ruling party ministers and politicians have been pursued since the 2018 elections, which is considered to be a reflection of NAB’s partiality. The leadership of the two main political parties as well as the second tier (former ministers) are in prison mostly for interrogations.”

“The opposition leader in the National Assembly and former Punjab chief minister has also been in custody for charges against corruption and is on bail now. The opposition parties have expressed intention to do away with the accountability laws once they come into power.”

“NAB intends to continue with its anti-corruption drive by strengthening awareness with a strong focus on the youth. It plans to establish an exclusive Anti-Corruption Academy for which financial allocation has been requested to the federal government. It also plans to form an anti-corruption forum in collaboration with countries in the region to enhance and strengthen anti-corruption activities across borders. In December 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan asked Parliament to amend the accountability law allowing voluntary return of plundered money or else the court would pass an appropriate order in this regard. The process to propose the amendment has already begun.”

“There has been a serious deterioration of media freedom in Pakistan, a trend that began in the lead up to the general elections in 2018. A draft proposal by the government to establish media tribunals has not been pursued. Materialisation of these tribunals would be a worrisome development.”

“The national security is widely used as a pretext for cracking down on freedom of expression. The increasing pressure by security forces, with the tacit approval of the government, on those with dissenting views, including media representatives and human rights defenders, is worrying. Critical opinions of the armed forces are especially taboo, as well as topics considered to be of high security and strategic interest, eg the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Intimidation tactics are diverse, sometimes extending to family members and in the case of media often lead to self-censorship by journalists and publishers to be able to continue to function.”

Author: Shaista Sindhu

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Author: Shaista Sindhu