No NAB action yet on pending 300 graft cases

April 22, 2014 - 12:37:53 am

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is still mulling over more than 300 pending cases against politicians and senior bureaucrats despite its claim three months ago that the cases have been reopened, according to sources.

The NAB claimed on January 10 to have reopened over 300 high-profile pending cases dumped reportedly by the PPP-led government. However, no significant progress is in evidence.

NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, who heaved a sigh of relief on Thursday after the Supreme Court disposed of a petition filed against his appointment, had formed a special committee in January, asking it to take a decision on the pending cases within four weeks. So far, however, no decision has been taken on even a single case. The committee had referred the pending cases to the relevant regional NAB offices for further proceedings.

The cases have remained unattended due to different reasons for the past four years. They are still at the inquiry or investigation stages and none has so far been sent to the accountability court, said a senior NAB official.

According to the NAB sources, the cases were registered against politicians of several political parties, including the PPP, PML-N, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid. In December 2011, NAB formed a similar committee to scrutinise all pending cases that might have been registered on political grounds during the tenure of previous regimes; however, the outcomes were not made public.

According to the NAB records, the persons against whom the cases were registered include disgruntled PPP leader Naheed Khan, Ghulam Mustafa Khar, former interior minister Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, Khawaja Riaz Mehmood (in charge of the Open Kutchery Cell of the last PML-N government), Rasheed Akbar Nawani, Abdul Karim Nausherwani, Jangez Khan Marri, Aslam Bizenjo, Saleh Mehmood Bhootani and Sardar Asif Saranjani.

When contacted, NAB spokesman Ramzan Sajid said the special committee held a number of meetings and reviewed the cases after thorough scrutiny. It sent recommendations to the relevant regional offices and wings for their final input and action. “The required action on more than 200 of these cases has been taken and the remaining cases are in the final stages of execution,” Sajid said.

Asked whether the action has been put on hold due to pressures, Sajid said: “NAB is ensuring across-the-board accountability without [considering] the status and position of the people involved.”  

Answering a question about cases against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari, the spokesman said the cases against them which were being tried by NAB did not fall in the category of pending cases.