Governance through slogans or justice – Some Questions

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Supreme Court calls NAB a facilitator of Corruption and Heart & Brain of corruption in the country. NAB is a national institution whose top appointments are made by PM. Has the mode of justice changed into announcing corruption without ever apprehending the corrupt? Are judges just the observer of corruption or executioner of justice? Is nation happy with this new mode of justice? By Ahmad Jawad


Reference article by Sohail Khan in The News, ” NAB facilitator, heart and brain of corruption: SC

The Supreme Court (SC)  termed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) a facilitator of corruption and observed that the anti-graft body was an institution that was the heart and brain of corruption in the country.

A two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, heard the bail application of Babar Zulqarnain, the son of former AJK prime minister Raja Zulqarnain. Babar Zulqarnain, who was the country Director of Karkay arrested in Rental Power corruption case. Karkay, a Turkish company, had installed Rental power plant in Pakistan.

On January 22, 2016, NAB arrested Raja Babar Zulqarnain, who is alleged to have been involved in a scam worth Rs128 million regarding Karkey, a ship-mounted Turkish power plant after his bail plea was rejected by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The plant was brought to Karachi Port to provide electricity to the national grid in 2009 under the then government’s Rental Power Projects (RPPs) policy to overcome energy crisis.  The SC on March 31, 2012 pulled the plug on rental power projects that had eaten up billions of rupees of the national exchequer but failed to overcome the chronic electricity shortages.

The court announced the verdict in 2012 in the petitions filed by former Housing and Works Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat and PML-N leader Khwaja Asif, alleging huge corruption in the awarding of RPP contracts.

The 90-page verdict, authored by former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, found massive embezzlement in the affairs of Sharaqpur Power Plant, Reshma Rental Generation Company Limited, Karkey Rental Power Plant and Gulf Rental Power Project.

It had declared the agreements of Rental Power Projects (RPPs) illegal and held the Water and Power Ministry, Wapda, Finance Ministry, Pepco and Gencos responsible for causing huge losses to the national exchequer.

On Wednesday, the court while hearing the bail application of Babar Zulqarnain, directed NAB to submit its report over the arrest of other accused in the matter as well as policy of anti-graft body over arrest of the accused.

The court observed that policies of NAB were beyond understanding. Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed remarked that NAB was a facilitator of corruption adding that the bureau was the heart and brain of corruption. He sarcastically asked as to what the rate of NAB was for not arresting an accused.

Counsel for the petitioner Babar Zulqarnain contended that just in five years, only five witnesses were produced by the anti-graft body adding that other 11 accused were not being arrested.

The court observed that even the authorities did not issue arrest warrants for the accused in the case and ruled if NAB failed to submit its report, its chairman should appear in person. Rawalpindi NAB DG however, told the court that the Bureau followed its policies regarding arrest of the accused adding that those cooperating in the investigation process were not arrested.

He further submitted senior citizens as well as people who returned the money voluntarily were also not arrested. Meanwhile, the court directed NAB to submit its report and adjourned further hearing till first week of January, 2017.

 

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