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NAB not to summon any trader to its office now, says Javed Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Justice (retd.) Javed Iqbal has strongly rejected allegations of creating hurdles for the national economy, saying that the anti-corruption watchdog and corruption cannot go together.

While addressing a press conference in Islamabad here today, Iqbal said that the institution has not taken any step which causes damages to the national economy and it has no role in the deteriorated financial situation of the country.

“We will not summon any trader to the NAB office now, but a questionnaire will be given [to the accused person]. Traders can continue their business activities without any fear. Those people, who are facing corruption charges, paid millions to their lawyers.”

“If we ask any question than how would it cause loss, but complete silence is seen instead of answering it,” he said.

Iqbal added, “Why NAB should not question [in the cases] where Rs50 lakh is spent instead of estimated Rs5 lakh? [I cannot accept that] Questioning someone will cause damage to the individual’s self-respect. NAB and economy are going together and it will be. Traders have praised the performance of the institution in their letters.”

“NAB will not care of [criticism made by] few people if Pakistan is facing an issue on global level. FATF [Financial Action Task Force] has put the country on grey list and a warning was also issued in this regards.”

The NAB chairman, while detailing reputation of the institution, said, “An important member of Gulf countries had contacted NAB to discuss issues of water supplies and sewerage and sought the assistance of the institution to make investments in the sectors. However, we have excused as it was not in our powers.”

“Investigation into money laundering [cases] are continued and it will be,” clarified NAB chairman.

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The chairman added, “It is completely wrong to say about arresting first and later opening an inquiry [against the accused]. NAB is being criticised by people for making arrests without evidence and later the sessions of standing committees and assembly summoned in order to delay the investigation process.”

He said, “We only make an arrest on the basis of evidences. These people went abroad [to avoid facing detainment] as we have evidences. Democracy will not be endangered through accountability but due to its deeds.”

“Please tell me the reason, where NAB stands between US dollar prices and agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)?”

“If there is a friendly connection between the government and NAB than the institution would not face difficulties in the budget. We are facing troubles to get the necessary budget from the government.”

He added, “It is being alleged that business activities are slowing down due to the anti-corruption watchdog. NAB has not taken any anti-economy moves so far. Business activities need a comprehensive policy and I’ve presented my stance before the chairman of chamber of commerce, whereas, I’ve also asked business community to register complaints three months ago. Neither any complaint comes forth from Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI) nor any other trade community.

He said that there are no legal restrictions for NAB chairman for expressing his opinion. He added that allegations were levelled on the institution for scaring business community over telegraph transfers (TT). He rejected the allegations, saying that the public office bearers could be questioned over TT.

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Iqbal said, “NAB will not care of [criticism made by] few people if Pakistan is facing an issue on a global level. FATF [Financial Action Task Force] has put the country on grey list and a warning was also issued in this regards.”

“Every move of NAB is in favour of the country. There is a difference between the country and government as NAB’s affiliation is with the state and the country. NAB cannot be dictated by anyone.”

He refuted rumours once again for having ‘friendly relationship’ between NAB and the incumbent government.

Iqbal said, “If there is a friendly connection between the government and NAB than the institution would not face difficulties in the budget. We are facing troubles to get the necessary budget from the government. However, we will secure national interest at any cost besides improving the reputation of our country at the international level.”

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