Posts misconstrue that recent amendments made to the anti-graft law have allowed Pakistan’s premier anti-corruption agency to shutdown high-profile investigations against several politicians, including a former president, two former prime ministers and two former chief ministers.
The claims are misleading.
On August 8, a Facebook user posted pictures of former office holders, alongside the caption that the coalition government used its 15-month tenure to close dozens of cases against its senior politicians, by tweaking the anti-corruption legislation.
“Asif Ali Zardari benefited the most from changes made to the NAB [National Accountability Bureau] law, while Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shahbaz, Murad Ali Shah, Saleem Mandviwalla and others also got relief,” the user wrote.
On September 1, another Facebook user alleged that the list of beneficiaries of the amendments, included politicians from the Pakistan People’s Party and those close to former president Asif Ali Zardari, as well as former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
The online debate misrepresents the facts.
Two reports submitted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Supreme Court, one in February and the other in September, detail investigations transferred or returned after the NAB law was amended in 2022 and 2023.
While the reports include the names of Asif Ali Zardari, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif, Hamza Shahbaz and Saleem Mandviwalla, they do not contain Murad Ali Shah’s name.
The NAB officials first submitted a 137-page report in February to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, hearing a petition regarding changes made to the anti-corruption legislation.
The report details all the references returned to NAB in view of amendments made to the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, from 2019 to June 2022.
The high-profile politicians named in the list are: Saif Ullah Khan Banghash, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Yousaf Raza Gilani, Shaukat Tareen, Shaukat Aziz, Mehtab Ahmed Khan, Farzana Raja, Asif Ali Zardari, Robina Khalid, Abdul Qadir, Yusaf Baloch, Nawaz Sharif, Saleem Mandviwala, Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shahbaz and Sibtain Khan.
NAB later submitted another report on September 1 in the Supreme Court of references transferred and returned between January 1 and September 1, 2023, due to amendments made to the NAB law.
That list included the names of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Asif Ali Zardari.
With additional reporting by Fayyaz Hussain
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