During a recent meeting with newspaper editors and TV channels, the NAB chairman said that the bureau was reviewing references forwarded by the prime minister’s adviser on interior affairs against the Sharif brothers. But, he said, “elections are near and political cases will not be re-opened against anyone, including the Sharif brothers, for the time being.”

He reportedly said: “President Zardari has barred me from re-opening Nawaz Sharif’s cases.” (July 1). This statement came as a shock to me. The NAB chairman has divided corruption cases into two categories; involving politicians and non-political persons.

According to the logic of the NAB chief, since elections are near, cases against politicians can be delayed. The implication is very obvious; when a politician against whom there is a corruption case, returns to the assembly, NAB would not be in a position to proceed against him. NAB is a highly-politicised institution. A person who is groomed in legal traditions and trained in criminal justice administration will not make such a wild statement. There is also constitutional provision regarding discrimination. According to the other part of his statement, NAB does not process cases on merit rather it acts on the directions of the president. The chairman needs to explain whether NAB law binds him to act on the directions of the president. There is no doubt that Admiral Fasih Bokhari has been appointed by the president of Pakistan and there are many state functionaries and judges of superior courts appointed by the president.

The question is: are they supposed to act on the directions of the president? I think, by making this statement, Admiral Fasih, has discredited the office of the NAB chairman. Admiral Fasih is not qualified to hold the office. He should quit it as he is an honourable person. I had congratulated him on his appointment as NAB chief, but the admiral has disappointed me by making this statement that is politically damaging for the president as well.

ASGHAR MAHMOOD,

Islamabad, July 10.