NAB has nothing to do with politics and is only loyal to the state of Pakistan, said NAB Chairperson Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal.
Speaking at a seminar in Islamabad he said NAB is aligned with the state, not the government. Governments come and go, he said.
He underscored the importance of accountability and said this is no longer a Mughal kingdom. Now, even the common man can ask political leaders things and NAB has the constitutional right to ask you, he said. It is your duty to answer these questions, he added.
Justice Iqbal said propaganda has been spread against NAB but it doesn’t matter because Pakistan’s people know what is going on.
“Not long ago people said NAB is nothing but dead wood, today even they have to say it is a tree with new branches and leaves,” he said. He said it doesn’t take dictation from anyone and that even the government had said it was an unbiased institution.
Speaking about the impression that NAB is targeting the bureaucracy, Justice Iqbal said it is very important, the backbone of the government, but if there’s an issue in the backbone, it causes pain to the rest of the body. We won’t be taking any wrong steps against bureaucrats, he assured, adding that there are many capable bureaucrats in the government.
However, he reiterated that corruption cannot go unpunished. He urged people to cooperate with the bureau.
Our loyalty is to the state and the incumbent government’s policies and that’s it, he repeated.
Speaking about political figures who have said that NAB is not providing suspects in its custody proper facilities, he said that this isn’t true. We’re giving all the proper facilities, like medical facilities and food brought in from outside for special needs, but remember this isn’t a hotel, he said.
He asked people to stop bad mouthing NAB and said there is no point in living in the past. Learn from it and live in the present, he urged.
The NAB head said that he had heard that the business community had reservations about NAB and said he went to address a chamber of commerce meeting during which someone asked why the death penalty was not imposed for corruption. We would lose half of our population that way, he quipped.
We won’t take steps against the country’s economy, he said, asking why anyone thought they would do so.
The steps we take are for Pakistan and the people’s benefit, he said. We don’t care who you are or were, he said, adding that there were cases against former prime minister, chief ministers and other political leaders.
Instead of propaganda, use that effort to strengthen your defence, he advised. Justice Iqbal said that NAB has no love or enmity towards anyone. We are just doing our job, he explained.
He also said that the bureau’s conviction rate is 70%, not 7%. “I think you forgot a zero,” he laughed. When you want to know about NAB, don’t ask people who have references against them, he urged.