ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that out of the nine army officers whose initial appointment in the bureau suffered from “inherent disqualification”, three had declined premature retirement and intended to contest their case.
The three men who refused early retirement are Lahore NAB Director General (DG) Maj Bhurhan Ali, Balochistan NAB DG Maj Tariq Mehmood and Karachi NAB DG Maj Shabbir Ahmed. On Tuesday, all three officers were allowed to present their case before the bench one by one.
On Tuesday, the NAB chairman also told the court that NAB DG Awareness and Prevention Aliya Rashid, who was appointed on the recommendation of then prime minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali in recognition of her services in the field of sports, had refused to opt for premature retirement. A day earlier, the three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim had asked the NAB chairman to offer nine officers who were inducted after without meeting the required qualifications the option of early retirement so they could avail benefits such as pension.
In case of their removal from NAB, the court said, they could re-enter the service by appearing before the Public Service Commission under the rules.
The matter was initiated by former Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali on an anonymous letter, drawing the court’s attention towards the appointment on deputation of 16 former military officers — to posts in grades 21 and 22 — out of the total 32 officers working in similar grades.
In an earlier report, NAB had conceded that none of the nine officers had the requisite qualifications on the date of their appointment.
Meanwhile, two of the nine officers have opted for premature retirement: Lahore NAB directors Mohammad Younus and Farrukh Naseem, while Karachi NAB DG Col Naeem and Lahore NAB Director Squadron Leader Tariq Nadeem have already retired.
Two others have shown a willingness to be repatriated to their parent departments: Quetta NAB Additional Director Syed Muhammad Amir, who came from the Accounts department, and NAB Deputy Director Ansar Yaqoob, who came from the office of the Controller General of Accounts, Islamabad.
The court has asked the government and the two men’s parent departments to promote these officers along with their batch mates within 15 days.
The court asked the officers who had opted for premature retirement to submit an application to the NAB chairman seeking retirement, which the chairman would process without wasting any time.
But the NAB chairman told the court the he would meet Establishment Secretary Syed Tahir Shahbaz to devise a way out.
During proceedings, Justice Muslim regretted that an impression had been created that the judiciary had never carried out accountability, pointing towards the Sept 26, 2016 judgement which declared illegal all appointments, deputation, absorption and reappointments in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) from 2011 to the end of 2012.
In that judgement, Justice Muslim had held that the IHC chief justice and the high court’s Administration Committee had made appointments in complete disregard of the rules framed under Article 208 of the Constitution.
Subsequently, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman, had to quit, Justice Muslim recalled.