Govt may retain Javed Iqbal as NAB chief

Final meeting on issue will be held on Thursday


Hasnaat Malik September 29, 2021
NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The federal government may extend the tenure of incumbent National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal.

Sources told The Express Tribune that Prime Minister Imran Khan held a meeting with legal minds to deliberate various options on the appointment of a new anti-graft body chief or extending the tenure of the incumbent one.

The attorney general for Pakistan’s draft of proposed amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance 2000 was also discussed.

The final meeting on the NAB chairman will be held on Thursday (tomorrow).

A senior federal minister told The Express Tribune that the government would extend the tenure of Javed Iqbal.

Also read: PPP to 'forcefully oppose' NAB chief extension

"However, it is yet to be clear as to whether the incumbent chairman's tenure will be given another term or he will be allowed to work until the appointment of his successor,” said the senior federal minister, who was part of the meeting.

Legislation will be required to implement either of the suggestions.

In the case of an extension, it would be for four years.

It is learnt that one government functionary suggested to the PM to extend the NAB chief’s tenure until the appointment of his successor.

Otherwise, consultation with the leader of the opposition in National Assembly would be required to give another term to the incumbent chairman.

The participants also deliberated as to whether or not the PM should consult with the leader of opposition in NA on the appointment.

Also read Fawad rules out consulting Shehbaz on NAB chief

The AGP’s amendment draft endorsed the consultation process with the opposition leader.

Despite a few participants’ reservations, the premier has no issue consulting with the leader of opposition, one of the participants said.

Political analysts believe that the opinion of "powerful circles will be significant in the final decision.

Sources informed that the participants agreed not to mention the role of the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) in the appointment of NAB chief.

Earlier, the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) had sought the government's opinion on the Supreme Court’s suggestion for consulting the CJP while appointing the anti-graft buster chief.

The SJC may take up complaints of misconduct against the incumbent NAB chairman soon.

Interestingly, Justice Qazi Faez Isa has been included as a new member of the council.

The SJC comprises three senior SC judges and two senior high court chief justices. The CJP is the chairman of the council.

Major opposition parties, including the PPP, have already announced opposing an extension to the incumbent chairman.

It is learnt that AGP Khalid Jawed Khan in his proposed amendments suggested giving the option of bail to the accountability courts.

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