NAB’s tactical somersault — Imran Khan is the new targetISLAMABAD: The content of the National Accountability Bureau press release, announcing the initiation of an inquiry against Farah Khan – a close friend of the former prime minister’s wife — shows the case against her is a pure tax issue that should be dealt with by the FBR. However, NAB’s well-timed intervention into this matter is a subtle message hinting of the 'winds of change' blowing for the new rulers.
Farah Khan was not holding any public office but is accused of making money during Imran Khan's rule. NAB’s press release focuses on the phenomenal growth of her fortunes as well as her foreign visits during this period.
Official sources say that all these matters fall in the jurisdiction of the FBR, which needs to probe and question Farah Khan. Why would NAB take up the matter? As the Bureau has been doing in the past, it represents a change in policy to please the Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government, whose many key members were harassed, hounded, arrested and dragged into corruption cases by the same NAB under the same chairman in order to please the-then Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Picking up Farah Khan's case is NAB's tactical move because of her close association with the former first lady Bushra Khan. An inquiry against her will be upsetting for both Imran Khan and his wife but it would please Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the Sharif family, the Zardaris and others in the government.
During the last four years, NAB made corruption cases against a number of the-then opposition leaders, including the incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has been alleging a “NAB-Niazi nexus” in arresting opposition leaders in fake cases. On the contrary, NAB during PTI rule either settled or ignored alleged corruption cases against the-then rulers belonging to the PTI and PMLQ.
Interestingly, NAB has been doing the same ever since its inception. Hounding the opposition for political engineering on the wishes and whims of the rulers and powers that be and settling corruption cases of the rulers of the day through compromised investigations or friendly prosecutions has been the tactic of NAB massively used for its survival.
The PMLN and PPP were extremely upset with NAB and its role during General Musharraf’s tenure and for the same reason they had committed in the Charter of Democracy in 2006 to replace the draconian NAB with an independent accountability commission. However, the following PPP and PMLN governments ignored their CoD commitment and used NAB to settle their scores through compromised probes and a friendly prosecution. Many inquiries and investigations were conveniently dumped.
Former prime minister Imran Khan had also promised an independent accountability system, but he too got into the trap of NAB which won Khan’s heart by making cases against his opponents, arresting them and dragging them to the courts. However, in hardly any case did NAB convict any of these leaders. Instead, the superior judiciary reprimanded NAB in many cases for misusing its authority, for its political engineering and for arresting political opponents in cases having no evidence of corruption.
Imran Khan has been enjoying NAB’s work during his rule whereas the-then opposition and present rulers were cursing the Bureau for making false corruption cases against them, arresting and harassing them. With Imran Khan now ousted by the opposition which has now come to power, NAB while repeating its history has taken a timely somersault.
The PMLN and the PPP, which during the PTI regime were talking about the possible abolition of NAB, seem to now be enjoying NAB’s “change of wind.” Farah Khan may now be arrested, and through her NAB may also try to harass Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi. This will keep NAB strong. However, real accountability will once again remain a far cry.
A senior NAB official said: “Ahsan Jamil Gujar has been Gujranwala Zilla Council chairman from 1997 to 1999. Farah Khan is the wife of an ex-public office holder. Since she is a spouse of a public office holder, her conduct is cognizable under the NAB law. “She is being interrogated because she is wife of an ex-public office holder and her husband will also be a part of the inquiry and investigations.”
ISLAMABAD: The content of the National Accountability Bureau press release, announcing the initiation of an inquiry against Farah Khan – a close friend of the former prime minister’s...