By Aijaz Hussain
Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala has accused the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and claimed that the institution has been violating human rights and has promised to include the Bureau in the internationally blacklisted organizations on the grounds that they not only denied such allegations but also confronted the blamers to hand in proof for of their charges within 14 days or face strong legal action.
While addressing his second press conference in a week, Mr. Mandviwalla along with two human rights and civil society activists, claimed that people have been losing their lives in NAB’s custody or have resorted to committing suicide after receiving notices from the Bureau. He declared that the Senate would hold NAB itself accountable, a feat that would be the first of its kind in the nation’s history.
The NAB retaliated by issuing a statement in which they said that all these allegations are false in nature and that all such perpetrators who are spreading wrong and baseless accusations would be dealt with issued legal notices against them.
Mr. Mandviwalla has stated that he has the support of all senators from both sides of the table in the venture, which is that of exposing NAB. He said that the proceedings will go as far as checking the degrees of NAB’s officials and holding them accountable for keeping the ‘assets beyond needs.’
Mr. Mandviwalla has also vowed to approach every ambassador in Pakistan and all possible international forums and tell them about the human rights violations being committed at NAB’s end. He believes that in the consequence of him getting support, he will ensure that NAB gets internationally blacklisted.
He strongly criticized the ‘plea bargain’ that NAB had been practicing and said he would invite every person who was made part of it and tell their side of the story to the house committee on human rights. He further mentioned that even though the Supreme court abolished this provision, they still kept on using such tactics with the accused.
Mr. Mandviwalla said he would also go to the Prime Minister Imran Khan and other opposition leaders to get themselves on the same page for this issue and pass a legislation which would restrict NAB’s jurisdiction; keeping it confined to corruption only. He said his next press conference would be with the businessmen and the presidents of the chambers of commerce from Karachi and other big cities, adding that all of them were in the same boat with him on this matter.
He told the press about his meeting with the chairman of NAB and cited possible meetings with the Prime Minister and Chief of Army staff Qamar Javed Bajwa. He termed that the army has a casting influence and its support for the system will help this cause.
HR activist, while giving her say in this matter, presented the list of individuals who were on the receiving end of NAB’s oppression; adding that these people either were killed in NAB’s custody or were humiliated through some of their actions. The list included the names of people like Ijaz Memon, Aslam Masood of the Omni Group and retired Brigadier Asad Munir, who committed suicide after facing humiliation from NAB’s front.
On the contrary, NAB responded by saying that the plea bargains were subject to approval on the requests of the accused, and not by the accountability organization. Referring to the deals that were made, it was shown that the accused apart from admitting his guilt in the accountability court, also signed a statement and dispatched the first tranche of the looted money.
NAB further claimed that they have been efficient in their operations that were carried out against corruption and were also lauded by International organizations like Transparency International Pakistan, World Economic Forum, Pildat and Mishal Pakistan. They also concluded through facts that NAB has been the best anti-corruption organization in Pakistan, since they have recovered Rs466 billion from corrupt elements and deposited in the national exchequer and their conviction ratio is about is 68.8 per cent.
The Senate deputy chairman further informed that the NAB had frozen 3.1 million shares of different companies in the name of Mr. Mandviwala with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in connection with the fake accounts case.
Despite having a meeting with the chairman of NAB and having the promise of the proceedings of his case being halted, the Senate deputy chairman is still adamant in continuing with his mission of exposing NAB.