Referring to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as a “facilitator of corruption”, the Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed its dissatisfaction with the institution’s performance in Balochistan.
A three-member bench of the apex court was hearing a petition seeking bail of former Balochistan food minister Asfandyar Kakar who was arrested by NAB earlier this year on charges of embezzlement.
“Important cases in Balochistan have seen long delays,” Justice Dost Mohammad, who was presiding over the apex bench, said during the hearing.
Justice Faiz Essa remarked that Director General (DG) NAB Balochistan, Irfan Naeem Mangi ─ who was a member of the Joint Investigation Team that investigated allegations of money laundering against the Sharif family ─ should be made a co-accused in the case against Kakar due to the poor performance of the NAB.
The judge added that NAB authorities were misusing the law and matters could only be improved by opening cases against them.
Justice Mohammad, however, said that due to Mangi’s involvement in the Panamagate JIT, he could not be included in the case against the former provincial minister.
“Those caught red-handed in Balochistan are released by NAB. The bureau has made a joke of all corruption cases,” Justice Essa remarked, adding that the trials due to be completed within 30 days do not get wrapped up even in 30 months.
“To this day, NAB has not completed any trial within 30 days,” the justice said. “Rs701 million have been stolen, but NAB is sleeping.”
“Those who draw a salary from the taxpayer’s money are abusing the law,” Justice Essa said.
The apex court granted bail to the former provincial minister against a surety of Rs5m.
NAB had arrested Kakar in March after the Balochistan High Court rejected his request seeking bail.
The former minister was accused of inflicting financial losses of over Rs2 billion to the national exchequer.
Nearly three years ago, NAB had filed three references against the former food minister regarding the missing 256,000 bags of 100 kilogrammes of wheat from a store in Pishin.
The former minister was shifted to the regional NAB headquarter amid tight security from BHC premises.
The accountability court had already issued warrants for Kakar’s arrest and the accused had approached the BHC to seek bail.
Kakar had served as a food minister in the provincial cabinet of former chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani.
He was elected on the ticket of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from Pishin district of Balochistan.