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Justice (r) Javed Iqbal apponited as NAB chairman

09 October, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Following agreement between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah, the government on Sunday appointed Justice (r) Javed Iqbal as chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

A notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice announced that Justice (r) Iqbal, who served as a judge of the Supreme Court until 2011, will take charge on October 10, the date when his predecessor Qamar Zaman Chaudhry completes his tenure.

Earlier in the day, Shah at a press conference in his hometown Sukkur announced that the prime minister had made a phone call to him expressing government’s willingness to appoint Justice (r) Iqbal, a name proposed by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), to appoint head of the anti-graft watchdog.

The appointment of NAB chairman for the next four years was an uphill task for the political forces chiefly in the backdrop of the accountability watchdog proceeding against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family as well as Finance Minister Ishaq Dar following the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in Panama Papers case.

As per existing laws, the discretion to appoint a NAB chief shifts to the Supreme Court in case parliamentarians fails to evolve consensus on the issue. Sources in the ruling party told Daily Times that leadership across the political divide had already evolved consensus on upholding the supremacy of parliament against other institutions of the state. “You must have noticed unanimous passage of Election Act 2017 that enabled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s restoration as head of ruling party,” observed a senior party member requesting anonymity. Consensus on a name for the new NAB chairman is in the same spirit of parliamentary supremacy, he said, adding, “Otherwise, the ball would have gone to the judiciary’s court.”

According to source privy to the development, the government has also taken the military leadership into confidence over the name of Justice (r) Javed Iqbal. “Our fauji brothers are also fine with Justice sahib as NAB chief,” the official said. “And judiciary should also be happy that we have selected a retired judge as head of the accountability bureau,” he maintained, in a lighter vein.

Justice (r) Iqbal retired in 2011, the same year he was appointed as head of a commission that investigated and reported the circumstances surrounding the May 2011 raid at a compound in Abbottabad wherein the US claimed to have killed Usama Bin Laden.

The Abbottabad Commission under Justice (r) Javed Iqbal interviewed over 300 witnesses and gave 200 recommendations in its 700-page report to the prime minister. The report is yet to be made public, notwithstanding the media leaks out of the classified document.

Justice (r) Iqbal was among the three names recommend by the opposition leader for the post. Two others recommended by him for the slot were Justice (r) Faqeer Khokhar and ECP former secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed.

Whereas, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had suggested the names of incumbent Intelligence Bureau chief Aftab Sultan, Justice (r) Rehmat Jaffery and Justice (r) Ejaz Chaudhry for the post.

The PTI had proposed the names of Justice (r) Falek Sher, KP former chief secretary Shehzad Arbab and former IB chief as well as former IGP Sindh Sohaib Suddle.

The only nominee of Jamaat-e-Islami for the post was former ECP secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan. MQM had proposed the names of Justice Mahmood Rizvi, Justice (r) Muhammad Ghaus and former ECP secretary Kanwar Dilshad for the office.

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