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‘Stop NAB From Unlawfully Detaining Critics Of The Govt’

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) unlawfully detains critics of the government. The rights watchdog has called on the government to prosecute NAB officials responsible for this abuse of law.

HRW’s statement is being published below in its entirety.

Pakistani authorities should follow up a recent Supreme Court decision and cease using the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to detain critics of the government. The authorities should investigate and prosecute NAB officials responsible for unlawful arrests and other abuses.

On July 20, 2020, Pakistan’s Supreme Court, in an 87-page decision, ruled that the National Accountability Bureau had violated the rights to fair trial and due process in the arrest of two opposition politicians, Khawaja Saad Rafique and Khawaja Salman Rafique, whom the NAB detained for 15 months without reasonable grounds. The court granted the men bail and criticized the NAB for showing “utter disregard to the law, fair play, equity and propriety,” ruling that the “case was a classic example of trampling of fundamental rights [and] unlawful deprivation of freedom.”

“The Pakistani Supreme Court judgment is just the latest indictment of the NAB’s unlawful behavior,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Pakistani authorities should stop using a dictatorship-era body, possessing draconian and arbitrary powers, to intimidate and harass opponents.”

Pakistan’s parliament should carry out urgent reforms to make the anti-corruption body independent, Human Rights Watch said.

In its decision, the Supreme Court also expressed concern about the use of the NAB as an instrument to target government opponents. The court cited a February report by the European Commission that criticized the NAB for bias, noting that “very few cases of the ruling party ministers and politicians have been pursued since the 2018 elections, which is considered to be a reflection of NAB’s partiality.”

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The Supreme Court Bar Association and the Pakistan Bar Council, the top elected bodies of lawyers in the country, welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision and criticized the NAB as “a tool for arm-twisting of political opponents.” In February, both bodies said they “strongly condemn” the summons issued to an opposition leader, Bilawal Bhutto, calling it an “act of political victimization.” In March, the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court ruled that the NAB had made arbitrary use of its arrest powers.

The National Accountability Bureau was created under an ordinance promulgated by the military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf in 1999. The ordinance gave the NAB unchecked powers of arrest, investigation, and prosecution. The authorities may detain people arrested under the accountability ordinance for up to 90 days without charge. In its decision the Supreme Court commented on the NAB’s arbitrary use of powers of arrest, noting that an arrest “has to be justified.… The power of arrest should not be deployed as a tool of oppression and harassment.”

The National Accountability Bureau arrested Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, editor-in-chief of the Jang group, the largest media group in Pakistan, in Lahore on March 12 on charges relating to a 34-year-old property transaction. He has remained in the agency’s custody ever since.

In another example of harassment, the NAB court summoned the former president and opposition leader Asif Ali Zardari to appear in person to record a statement, denying his request to record a statement through a video link because of his ill-health and Covid-19. Zardari previously spent 11 years in prison – more than half in NAB custody – without a conviction.

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In December 2018, Mian Javed Ahmed, a professor at University of Sargodha, died in NAB’s custody. Dr. Mujahid Kamran, the former vice-chancellor of the Punjab University, who was arrested by the NAB on allegations of illegal appointments at the university, described NAB detention centers as “torture cells.”

“Pakistani authorities should uphold the government’s human rights obligations,” Adams said. “Pakistan’s parliament should amend or repeal the NAB ordinance to ensure that the principles of fair trial, due process, and transparency are not compromised on the pretext of accountability.”

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2 Comments

  1. Mohammad Baig August 6, 2020

    HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ON THE ISSUES OF THE NAB.

    MR.BRAD ADAMS PERHAPS NEED TO REREAD THE DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT HE QUOTED FOR HIS DEFENCE OF STATEMENT IN FAVOR OF THE LOOTERS,THE GRABBERS, THE LAND MAFIA AND MANY MORE WHO TOOK MORE THAN 40% POOR TO FOOTPATH, DENIED THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO EDUCATION,HEALTH,WATER,FOOD,SHELTERS,EMPLOYMENT,HANDSOME WAGES,SUSTAINABLE LIVING CONDITIONS AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE AS THE EQUAL GENDER WITH EQUAL RIGHTS AND RESPECT IN THE SOCIETY ALMOST DENIED FOR THE LAST 70 YEARS.

    POSING LOVED WITH THE LOOTERS AND THEIR PUPPETS IN THE PARLIAMENT AND IN THE MEDIA HOUSES LOOKED LIKE AN ABUSIVE ONE FOR THE POOR AND THE COMMONS WHO HAVE BEEN TRUSTING THEIR LEADERS FOR THE LAST 70 YEARS PAYING WORTH TRILLIONS AND TRILLIONS ANNUALLY IN TERMS OF THEIR TAXES SO TO HAVE MANAGED THEIR SOCIAL ORDERS, NEED ORIENTED, ON TIMES AND AT AFFORDABLE COST SO TO ESTABLISH A CULTURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ALL AND ESPECIALLY FOR THE RULERS AND THE ELITES.

    I PERSONALLY FEEL IT A SHOCKING NEWS ITEM AND HURT VERY MUCH BY SEEING SUCH STATEMENTS IN FAVOUR OF SUCH AN UGLY PEOPLE WHO TOOK THE PAKISTAN TO “FATF” ALONG WITH DEBT OF MORE THAN 80 BILLIONS AND MAKING THE POOR THE SHUDDERS AND THE DALITS AT HOME BY THE RECORD CORRUPTION OF THE RULERS AND THE ELITES.

    THE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH LOOKS VERY MUCH LOVED WITH THE RULERS AND THE ELITES BUT NEVER AWAKEN OF THE CRISES OF MILLIONS OF POOR WHO ARE DENIED THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS BECAUSE OF JUST ONE REASON CALLED THE CORRUPTION OF THE RULERS AND THE MINTERS WHO DRAINED BILLIONS AND ROARING AND YELLING ON THE MEDIA DAILY AS THE ANGLES AND THE SAINTS.

    THE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH HAS ALSO CRITICIZED THE DETAINING OF THE ELITES AND THE RULERS AS AN ILLICIT AND ILLEGAL AND AN INHUMAN PRACTICING BY THE NAB BUT THIS SORT OF DETENTION NEEDS TO BE SEEN IN ITS TECHNICAL TERMS AND PHILOSOPHICALLY ON GROUNDS OF DEPRIVED POOR IN THE NAME OF SHELTERS.

    THE SORROWFUL STATEMENT AND THE REMARKS OF THE HONORABLE JUDGES ARE FOR THE SAKE OF REFORMING THE LAWS BUT NOT DENYING THE ACCESS TO JUSTICE TO THE COMMONS AND THE ORDINARY AND THE DEPRIVED WHO ARE ALMOST THE MAJOR TARGETS OF SUCH GAMES OF THE RULERS SO THE JUDGEMENT SAYS,”IF IT WAS NOT.”

    HOWEVER, HOW THE LOOTERS AND THE GRABBERS DO THEIR LOOTING GAMES TRICKILY, SCIENTIFICALLY SO AN ORDINARY INVESTIGATION WOULD NEVER REACH TO THE CONCLUSION AND THE LOOTERS AND THE GRABBERS WOULD HAVE THE BENEFIT OF DOUBT AND GET FREED HONORABLY AND BECOME THE HEROES.
    IN MY OPINION THE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH SHOULD HAVE TALKED ABOUT THOSE VERY MILLIONS LOOTED , DENIED, DEPRIVED AND UNHEARD AND UNCOUNTED WAITING FOR THE LAST 70 YEARS AND MADE THE FOOTBALL AND ITS ALL LOVES CONDITIONAL TO STRICT AND A RIGOROUS ACCOUNTABILITY RESULT ORIENTED RATHER MAKING THE LOOTERS AND THE GRABBERS AND PARK LANE CHAMPIONS THE POWERFUL SEGMENTS AS THE VICTIMS AND TARGETED AND DEMANDING THE SUPREME COURT FOR LEGALA CTION AGAINST THE NAB” AND OTHER INSTITUIONS.

    THE HONOURABLE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH DID NOT TELL THE NATION IF THE NAB” IS BOOKED OR TERMINATED WHAT TO DO NEXT AND HOW TO PROCEED FURTHER FOR ACCOUNTING THE WRONG DOERS AND THE LOOTERS WHO ARE SITTING NOW IN THE UK AND ENJOYING LIKE THE KINGS AT THE COST OF THE POOR OF THE PAKISTAN.

    APPARENTLY THE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH LOOKS ADVOCATING THE CASE OF ACCESS TO JUSTICE TO ALL BUT INFACT IT IS PLAYING WITH THE SITUATION AT THE COST OF MILLIONS AND MILLIONS LOOTED WORTH TRILLION AND TRILLIONS AND MADE THE COMMONS THE SHUDDERS AND THE DALITS.

    THE QUESTION LIES HERE THAT WHETHER THE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH HAD EVER DEMANDED SUCH A LOVED BEHAVIOR AND CONDITIONS FOR THEIR LEADERS IN CASE OF SUCH A BLATANT LOOTING OR DEMANDED FOR THEIR ACCOUNTABILITY?.

    THE NAB” NEEDS MUCH MORE REFORMS BUT NOT TO GUN DOWN TO FREE THE LOOTERS AND THE GRABBERS AND DEPRIVE THE COMMONS AND GIVE THEM A LULLABYING OF JUST WAIT.

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  2. Mohammad Baig August 6, 2020

    THE PM HAS ALREADY TALKED ON THE ISSUES OF OUR MONEY WORTH TRILLIONS DRAINED INTO THE WEST OR THE EU BANKS AND THE LOOTERS ARE ENJOYING THERE AND IT IS THE MAIN ISSUE TO BE RESOLVED TO MAKE THE DYING COUNTRIES SUSTAINABLE BUT THE OVERALL ATTITUDES OF THE WEST OR THE EU ARE FRIENDLY WITH THE LOOTERS OR THE WRONG DOERS SO THE THIRD WORLD IS FACING ACUTE CRISES.

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