Questionable conduct of NAB, Maryam
Only Allah Almighty knows where this society is heading.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam was scheduled to appear before the National Accountability Bureau’s Lahore office on Tuesday to answer questions about her acquisition of 3,500 kanals of land in Jati Umra.
The accused comes out of her palatial residence near Raiwind and proceeds towards the NAB office along with a big procession of party workers.
At NAB office police and party workers clash as a result of which many workers are injured and the windscreen of Ms Maryam’s bullet-proof vehicle is damaged. The NAB proceedings for the day are cancelled and the PML-N leader goes back home after the NAB doesn’t afford her an opportunity to present her point of view in the case.
A case has been registered against many party leaders and workers. Some have even been arrested. The PML-N, which knows the statecraft inside outside because of its decades of governance experience, has now approached the relevant police for registration of a case against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In the afternoon Maryam addresses a news conference at her family’s Model Town residence and levels a number of allegations against the NAB and the Imran government and assails the two for their alleged nexus (complicity). She tries to paint the NAB as a tyrant and the PML-N a party being grossly wronged by this institution.
Had the PML-N vice president quietly appeared before the NAB and answered all questions it would be a routine story for all newspapers. But the clashes, injuries caused to people on both sides plus the subsequent news conferences made it a lead story of all Wednesday newspapers. The unfortunate event also remained the subject of discussions at all news channels.
Maryam was in an aggressive mood and at the presser, she tried to project the NAB as an institution that was out to target the Sharifs.
She tried to convey an impression as if the NAB was the accused standing in the dock and the PML-N leader was the prosecutor.
These events raise serious questions about the conduct of the NAB authorities’ conduct as well as of the PML-N leadership.
For example, was it not possible for the NAB to tell Ms Maryam that she alone should come to the NAB office and answer the questions? Had she been a message, she would have directed party leaders and workers to avoid a procession.
Another question is why was she not allowed to enter the NAB office when she had insisted that she had come to answer the questions and would not go back without doing this? (In fact, she had asked the NAB why they had called her if they did not have the courage to hear her point of view).
She had levelled serious allegations against the NAB’s conduct but the anti-graft watchdog failed to come up with its point of view.
The PML-N vice president claimed that the notice sent to her mentioned no offence against her.
“Today I faced NAB’s terrorism. Had I not been in a bullet-proof car there could have been a loss of life. There was an organised conspiracy behind calling me to the NAB office. They wanted to cause harm to me,” she said.
She said: After the recent Supreme Court observation, NAB itself has become a ‘wanted’ organisation. The Human Rights Watch’s report has proved that NAB is being used for political engineering, blackmailing and putting pressure on political opponents to facilitate the government.
“Not appearing before NAB is like following the law,” she said.
(The NAB chairman, who is a former judge of the Supreme Court would better appreciate the sting in the words).
As a neutral observer, at times the writer feels that rhetoric apart the NAB is not pursuing cases against the Sharifs as vigorously as it should. This sluggishness is providing the Sharifs with an opportunity to allege that they are being victimised.
This attitude is benefitting the former ruling family politically. They would continue to make noise about alleged victimization but such an attitude of the NAB is very helpful to them.
Because of the consistent loud noise around people have started believing that the Sharifs are being wronged by the NAB under direct instructions from the PTI leadership.
On the other hand, it is hard to understand what was the justification for an accused (Maryam) to come to the NAB office in a procession? Was she coming to conquer something, or she was celebrating a previous conquest?
She is facing allegations, her father, uncle, cousins are facing serious allegations and most of them have been living in London since long, with no plans to return to the country in the foreseeable future.
The question is when they have committed no offence as they claim, why are they are not ready to prove their innocence before the relevant courts of law. It can be argued by the PML-N sympathizers that a person is innocent unless proven guilty, it can also be argued equally vehemently that those unwilling to face courts can’t be taken as innocent.
After all, these are the very courts that are providing justice (or whatever you call it) to the 220 million of Pakistan. Also, at a time when nobody was expecting a favourable decision these were the very courts that had allowed PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif to go to London for medical treatment.
If the NAB and the PML(N) leadership did not change their attitude, cases pending with the former would keep piling up.