Controversial appointment: Zardari picks retired admiral as NAB chief

Published: October 9, 2011

Admiral Bokhari, is retired four star naval officer and former Chief of Naval Staff of Pakistan Navy from 1997-1999.

Admiral Bokhari, is retired four star naval officer and former Chief of Naval Staff of Pakistan Navy from 1997-1999. President Zardari has nominated former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Fasih Bokhari for the post of NAB chairman. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Zardari has picked Fasih Bokhari, a retired chief of naval staff admiral, as the new chief for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Presidency spokesperson Farhatullah Babar confirmed the news to The Express Tribune.The move was immediately denounced by Zardari’s political opponents and seems unlikely to please the Supreme Court.

Attorney General Anwarul Haq told The Express Tribune that Zardari sent Bokhari’s name to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan two days ago, as he is required to do under the 18th Amendment to the constitution. This requirement is intended to prevent the office from becoming politicised and pursuing cases with bias, as often happened in the 1990s.

Indeed, it was the government’s failure to consult Chaudhry Nisar that led to the removal of the previous NAB chairman. Justice (retd) Syed Deedar Hussain Shah, who was initially nominated for the position, but the leader of the opposition did not concur with the choice. After the government went ahead regardless, Chaudhry Nisar sued the government in the Supreme Court (SC), which ultimately led to a ruling against the appointment.

(Read: Chairman’s appointment – NAB struggling to survive)

Deedar, widely regarded as a PPP loyalist, was appointed in October 2010, only to be removed by the SC in March 2011. Therefore the top accountability institution in the country has been ineffective and without a chief at its helm for seven months.

The SC also directed the government to appoint a “person of impartial character” to the post, dismissing the government’s recent pleas for an extension in appointing a new NAB chief. The process now is as follows. The law ministry will wait for a positive reply from the opposition leader. If this arrives, the ministry will then send a summary for the appointment to the PM, who will in turn forward the summary to the presidency for final confirmation of the new NAB chairman. The ball, it seems, is very much in the court of Chaudhry Nisar.

PML-N unhappy with Bokhari

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Sunday expressed serious reservations over the nomination of Fasih Bokhari as chairman of the NAB.

“I wonder why President Zardari cannot find someone with undisputed character,” PML-N Secretary Information Senator Mushahidullah Khan told The Express Tribune. “If Bokhari is not directly involved, he is linked in some way to the Agosta submarines scandal,” Khan said, referring to alleged corruption during a $520 million deal for French submarines.

(Read: Agosta submarine deal – Benazir, Zardari not involved: ex-naval spy chief)

Khan added that the government intended to appoint Bokhari in order to receive clearance from the NAB in cases against them. According to Khan, the proposed appointment “reflects nothing but cronyism.”

Khan was also of the view that the government should consider the PML-N’s request that a former judge of the Supreme Court be appointed, rather than someone who would face resistance from the entire opposition.

(WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY QAMAR ZAMAN)

 

PROFILE: Fasih Bokhari

Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari, the newly proposed NAB chairman, is a retired four-star naval officer. He served as Chief of Naval Staff of the Pakistan Navy from 1997 to 1999. He resigned in October 1999 in protest at the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s appointment of Pervez Musharraf as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. At the time, Musharraf was less experienced and, some thought, less deserving of the position than Admiral Bokhari.

Bokhari joined the submarine service in 1964 and was part of the acquisition crew of the Daphné class submarine. He graduated from the French Naval War College in 1975 and served as assistant chief of naval staff of personnel from 1991 till 1992. He served as deputy chief of naval staff of naval supply from 1992 to 1995. He was then promoted to vice-admiral and assumed the command of the Pakistan Fleet till 1997. He was promoted to a full four-star admiral in the navy, and became Chief of Naval Staff on May 1, 1997, leading Pakistan during the Kargil crisis, in which he claims the navy was not taken into full confidence by the army.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Pasha
    Oct 9, 2011 - 6:01PM

    So what could be Zardari’s trick in this appointment?

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  • Yasir Mehmood
    Oct 9, 2011 - 6:46PM

    Its often alleged that our president had suspicious contacts with navy officers during the 90′s and is often blamed for commision on purchase of french submarines this appointment only substantiates those claims. Plus, i think our president also wants to test SC on how it reacts since the appointed is ex officer of armed forces.

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  • kala_bacha
    Oct 9, 2011 - 6:58PM

    That guy only knows how to sail boat or run naval fleet. He does not have a clue how to run bureau against the corrupted Zardari and his more than 40 thugs!

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  • Abdul Mateen
    Oct 9, 2011 - 7:00PM

    Fasih’s nomination certainly is a good news to Pakistan !

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  • Imran
    Oct 9, 2011 - 7:03PM

    Lets see how PML-N’s “main na manoon” works out this time!

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  • Imran
    Oct 9, 2011 - 7:08PM

    And Nawaz Sharif promoted Musharraf over him, despite being junior, for the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

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  • Aamer Khawaja
    Oct 9, 2011 - 7:20PM

    Looks like we can’t refrain from putting retired military personnel on important posts. Corrupt naval officials in this case!

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  • Miqs
    Oct 9, 2011 - 7:48PM

    Aik Zardari Sab P Bhari :p

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  • Jameel
    Oct 9, 2011 - 7:57PM

    Another military man, Oh man.

    Can’t the retired stay retired and give chance to those who are of working age?

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  • hillbilly
    Oct 9, 2011 - 8:06PM

    is this same guy who was involved in submarine purchase scandal ?
    zardari got away with so many things, its one more feather in his cap …….pkistanis deserve zardari.

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  • Umer
    Oct 9, 2011 - 8:11PM

    Bokhari was not involved in induction of agosta submarines. The decision was made by his predecessor Mansoor-ul-Haq. The question is that how will Bokhari now deal with his absolute hatred for the PPP and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto?

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  • sashayub
    Oct 9, 2011 - 8:37PM

    i would not be surprised if this has everything to do with the ongoing French investigations into the “Karachi Affair”, when French engineers were killed in a bomb blast outside Sheraton hotel karachi…..apparently the current french president Sarkozy is also said to be involved for taking/giving kickbacks to the high-ups in PPP government when the French sub-marine deal was signed…………

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  • Shah Zalmay Khan
    Oct 9, 2011 - 8:38PM

    Dirty Politics.
    This gentleman did a Plea-Bargain with NAB after he was rounded up on serious corruption charges in major Defence Deals related to Navy.
    What a pity this NAB target will now lead NAB. Alas! Oh the “Land of the (NOT SO) Pure”Recommend

  • Imran
    Oct 9, 2011 - 8:49PM

    Well if we go by PML-N’s standards, there are only 2 persons who are “honest” in the entire Pakistan, Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif, despite their mega embezzlements in the Motorway projects, yellow cab scheme, and money laundering in the aftermath of nuclear testing, in addition to their victimization of their political opponents, and the judiciary, and their association with the banned organizations.

    In short, their “mein na manoon” attitude will continue and there will never be “meaningful consultation” with them on any matter. In the backdrop of this, one has to understand why they couldn’t go along with any political party.

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  • Qaisera
    Oct 9, 2011 - 9:14PM

    The objection by pml (n) to the nomination of adm fasih bokhari as next chairman nab is not faced on facts. In fact, he court martialed naval officers who had been alleged to have taken bribes.

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  • Farooq Khan
    Oct 9, 2011 - 10:04PM

    PML(N) will keep rejecting any name proposed. As per NAB ordinance a case can be opened by the signatures of NAB chairman only. There are cases against NS and SS pending waiting to be sent to courts. Till the time a Chairman signs it they can not be opened. Nice tacticsRecommend

  • Anum K
    Oct 9, 2011 - 10:19PM

    The Agosta 90B class submarine scandal occurred during Mansoor-ul-Haq’s regime. Mushahidullah needs to do his homework before passing statements.

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  • Oct 9, 2011 - 10:48PM

    Somebody inform the PMLN’s learned spokesman that it was Admiral Masoor who was involved in Augusta scandal and escaped to United States not Admiral Fasih.

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  • Munir Varraich
    Oct 9, 2011 - 11:20PM

    Good Luck Admiral Fasih Bokhari. I am sure you will do a thorough job as NAB Chairman.

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  • Unreasonable patriot
    Oct 9, 2011 - 11:48PM

    A good nomination of a learned man, albeit by President Zardari – a fact that casts doubt on most things. A well educated, principled, worldly wise, and somewhat irrelevantly, a bit of a secularist, Admiral Bokhari could serve the country well.

    That being said, there is always the concern about whether a man from the forces could independently and impartially investigate scams perpetrated by members and institutions of the armed forces of which there are many examples.

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  • Safir,
    Oct 9, 2011 - 11:55PM

    Zardari ji appointing him for next time he can forgive him three billions $….

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  • Oct 10, 2011 - 12:06AM

    It was during Mansoor-ul-Haq’s regime that the Agosta 90B submarines scandal occurred, not Fasih Bokhari’s. I find this false accusation rather harsh.

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  • Mirza
    Oct 10, 2011 - 1:43AM

    Unless the PPP govt and Zardari nominates Sharifs, their sons, or Punjab HC judges, PML-N would keep rejecting them all. Whether it was CJ from Sind, or now an ex-admiral nobody is clean enough for Sharifs. Both PML-N and SC CJ are ready to decide and stop all executive appointments. Then they still call it bad governance on the part of PPP govt! Who is putting all the stops in the way of governance? In the entire history of Pakistan no opposition party was given a “veto” power on all govt appointments by the SC, no wonder they are behaving like a spoiled brat.

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  • basharat
    Oct 10, 2011 - 3:20AM

    Why the President does not appoint justice Ramde or justice (r) Khawaja Sharif or some one like them. Mashahdullah Khan , information secretary, PML N will be a good choice, it wiil be readily agreed to by the opposition leader. The power to appoint chairman NAB, it is better, should volunteerily be reverted in favour of the Chief justice of Pakistan.

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  • Jameel
    Oct 10, 2011 - 4:09AM

    @hillbilly:

    is this same guy who was involved in
    submarine purchase scandal ?

    In that case he’s the best man to catch crooks.

    As the saying goes, it takes one to know one.

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  • Abc
    Oct 10, 2011 - 5:44AM

    @hillbilly: He wasn’t involved in the scandal, Mansoor was. You are misinformed. He’s probably the only man with a clean slate, hence in my opinion suitable for the post.

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  • Maulana Diesel
    Oct 10, 2011 - 6:05AM

    Fasir Bokhari is a good guy. He has my support.

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    Oct 10, 2011 - 7:34AM

    If the aim was to stop corruption then why not think of someone like ADBUL SATTAR EDHI .

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  • Ahmed Rana
    Oct 10, 2011 - 9:52AM

    Why Consult After appointed Some one. Why not they sit together and Agree on Some one!!!! Recommend

  • ZIA AHMED
    Oct 10, 2011 - 11:03AM

    There have been many comments on the Admiral, and few characters have a small memory, they do not know who was the main character in the AGOSTA deal, it was Mansoor, Fashi came after and Took over from Mansoorul Haque. Secondly, Fashi was the one who resigned during PM Nawaz Sarif. Admiral Fashi has a clean naval record, he is the right man for the right job, why are people opposing his nomination ? they are now afraid that they will be brought to task and they will not be able to bribe him. If we have a man who is a Pakistani , hard working and honest, then whats the issue, be he a Admiral, General, Judge or any Pakistani, its the saying that goes, ONE MANS FOOD THE OTHER MANS POISON.
    When will we Pakistanis ever come to our senses to accept facts and not base assumptions on false and inappropriate news. Recommend

  • Ali
    Oct 10, 2011 - 1:11PM

    Is there no other deserving guy left in Pakistan who has not served-and-earned his entire life already? Young people are not getting jobs because the older ones don’t want to leave. More pathetic is a fact that senior most officers who has served and earned a good living do not want to leave the seat for younger people. A new job would have been created down below in the hierarchy had the deserving guy been promoted from within the organization. It is chain. You create vacancies on the top and the trickle down effect creates more and more jobs. But our elders don’t want to leave. What a pathetic state of affairs.

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  • Oct 11, 2011 - 1:02AM

    You have my support sir. First sane decision by our president.

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  • Muhammad Mudasar
    Oct 12, 2011 - 12:43PM

    Mr.Fasih Bukhari is a good man.He is a good choice for NAB Chirman.

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  • Oct 13, 2011 - 5:16PM

    He is a man of unblemished character.An outstandig man of vision aad intellegence,he is a asset to the nation,He is the only individual to have declined an asset that was due to him as an ex navy chief,That aact i itself speaks volumes of his honesty and integrity. He felt that the nation is poor andtherefore should be spared this, Moreover he does ot suffer from the tunnel vision syndrome.Recommend

  • Ken
    Nov 4, 2011 - 3:18AM

    I agree with Anum K, our dear politicians don’t even know the facts and figures to actually be talking about. They should first get their hands on authentic information before they come on national television in front of the public and display their lack of information.

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