ISLAMABAD .: In a major development, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) announced on Wednesday that it would not arrest till July 25, the election day, any politician facing a corruption inquiry and contesting the elections in a bid to provide a level playing field to all contestants.
The anti-corruption watchdog also announced to halt ongoing investigations into pending cases against former foreign minister Khawaja Asif and other ex-provincial and state ministers of the PML-N, saying the investigations would be resumed after July 25.
“NAB wants to make it clear that it has nothing to do with politics and elections. Decision to put off investigations in pending cases against politicians has been made to reflect this fact,” said a statement issued by the bureau following the anti-corruption watchdog’s Executive Board approved the decision.
However, a NAB spokesperson clarified that during this time period any order passed by a court of law would be implemented in letter and spirit after due diligence.
He said NAB’s highest decision making authority, the Executive Board, had decided to show restraint in the ongoing cases till elections in a bid to dispel the impression of alleged ‘biasness’ which some quarters wrongly attribute to the bureau when it comes to the pending corruption cases.
“The Executive Board reviewed cases of former foreign minister Khawaja Asif, former state minister Rana Muhammad Afzal, former provincial minister Rana Mashhood, and former MNA Rai Mansab and decided to delay their cases till the elections in a bid to enable them to participate in the elections,” reads the NAB press statement.
The NAB spokesperson said that the Executive Board decided this following due discussion and after reaching to a conclusion that the inquires against the PML-N leaders are at initial stages and no major breakthrough in their cases was expected till July 25. “But if deemed necessary, then action will be taken in accordance with the law,” he added.
Shortly after the decision was made, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf strongly criticised it saying, “It is a clear cut violation of laws of the country that do not bar any institution to not arrest any individual involved in corruption just because he/she is contesting elections”.
The party termed the decision as ‘strange’ and demanded of NAB to revisit it.
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