‘NAB chairman sold his soul’: PTI files reference for removal of bureau head in SJC

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Monday filed a reference with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for the removal of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry from his post.

The party’s reference against the NAB chairman comes days after the apex court’s Panamagate verdict, in which it ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the prime minister and his sons’ wealth.

The court ordered NAB to be a part of the JIT, but the decision garnered criticism from members of the opposition who believe that government officers subordinate to the premier would not take effective action against him and his family, as they had neglected to do the same in the past.

PTI Spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said the Panamagate verdict would “initiate a drive to cleanse the institutions of Pakistan from corruption”.

The cleansing, he said, would begin with the NAB chairman.

Chaudhry warned that if the NAB chairman was not removed from his post, it would amount to mockery of the apex court’s order.

Chaudhry, while speaking to reporters in Islamabad today, said that the premise of the reference filed under Article 209 is the SC’s April 20 judgement, and stressed that the NAB chairman’s performance had already been questioned over the course of the Panamagate hearings.

The NAB chairman had earlier refused to reopen cases alleging money laundering against the PM.

The reference, a copy of which is available with DawnNews, noted that the NAB chairman’s “conduct is contradictory to his legal and constitutional duties.”

The chairman, it said, “was under a sacred and pious duty under the law to eradicate corruption and corrupt practices from the country and to put all those on trial who misused and abused power and involved themselves in misappropriation of any kind expeditiously and effectively”, but was unable to carry out his duty effectively.

The reference accused Chaudhry of “blatantly, by design and on purpose” transgressing the executive authority granted to him by law, and also alleged that the NAB chairman had been “dishonest”, “naive” and “weak” with regards to fulfilling his mandatory duties.

The PTI’s reference claimed the NAB chairman’s “integrity, impartiality and honesty” had been compromised, and that “it would be absolutely fair to refrain the respondent from performing his duties as NAB chairman to save the nation from the respondent who has sold his soul to the powerful elite and instead of performing his duty, he is hellbent to aid them,”

The 2:3 split Panamagate verdict, which was initially celebrated by the PML-N leadership as a ‘victory’, has resulted in opposition parties banding together to demand resignation of the prime minister from office on moral grounds.

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