‘NAB is responsible for 12 deaths’ | Who are these people Ishaq Dar is referring to?
While speaking on BBC's Program HardTalk, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former finance minister Ishaq Dar claimed this.
- The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is allegedly responsible for the death of dozens of people.
- NAB maintains that not even a single person has died in its custody, at least not because of torture.
- Former Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Sehar Kamran compiled the data of 11 people who died mysteriously under NAB custody.
While speaking on BBC’s Program HardTalk, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former finance minister Ishaq Dar claimed:
Dozens of people have died in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
The interviewer asked Dar whether he was claiming that people had died during detention by NAB. Dar reiterated his claim and told the presenter to head to Google to verify it.
The whole interview of Ishaq Dar by Stephen Sackur on BBC HardTalk. Humiliation after humiliation, no clue how to answer. Dar thought he is going to Hamid Mir or Saleem Safi show. #Islamabad #Lahore @AdeelJavedCh @SdqJaan1 @essa1 @MaleehaHashmey @Nas_k27 @tariqmateen PART 1: pic.twitter.com/irHUMjv8tm
— Haider Warraich (@WaraichHaider) December 1, 2020
The truth behind the ex-finance minister’s claims
Amid conflicting reports, NAB maintains that not even a single person has died in its custody, at least not because of torture and in recent times.
Most Prominent Cases
- Mian Javed Ahmed
One of the most recent cases remains that of the former chief executive officer (CEO) of the University of Sargodha’s Lahore campus, Mian Javed Ahmed. He was in Camp Jail in connection with a NAB inquiry. Ahmed died in prison in late 2018, reportedly of cardiac arrest. When the matter went public, NAB said:
The teacher was not in the bureau’s custody but judicial custody.
- Agha Mohammad Sajjad
In 2004, the then NAB chairperson ordered an inquiry into the death of a former divisional engineer of PTCL, Agha Mohammad Sajjad, who died in NAB custody. A NAB spokesperson said:
The former PTCL official who was taken into custody on the charges of corruption from Lahore was brought to the NAB police station, where he suffered a heart attack. The official died on the way to the hospital; the death was not caused by torture.
Is NAB custody worse than Guantanamo Bay?
Former Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Sehar Kamran said:
NAB custody is worse than the United States’ (US) infamous military jail, the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.
Kamran made the statement after compiling the scattered data of alleged rights violations by NAB and sending it to Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari.
What did the compiled brief contain?
The compiled brief contained details of 11 NAB suspects, minus Mian Javed, who lost their lives while in custody or as a direct result of the harassment by the agency.
- Aslam Masood
Aslam Masood, the chief financial officer (CFO) of Omni Group, was arrested through Interpol when he was boarding a flight from London to Jeddah in October 2018. He was subsequently extradited to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia in February 2019. He died of a cardiac arrest on the 17th of August 2020 while in NAB custody.
- Engineer Aijaz Memon
Aijaz Memon, an executive engineer, serving in the Sindh government’s Works and Services Department, was accused of misappropriating Rs. 90 million development funds for Jacobabad. He was kept in the Sukkur Central Prison, where he suffered a heart attack and passed away during treatment at the local Civil hospital on the 31st of May 2020, less than three months after being placed in NAB custody.
- Advocate Zafar Iqbal Mughal
Advocate Zafar Iqbal Mughal was a leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and district bar member from Layyah. NAB authorities detained him on the 11th of October 2019 in a bogus housing scheme case (a non-registered housing colony on 254 acres in Layyah). He remained in NAB custody for 86 days, and after a severe deterioration of health, he was transferred to the hospital only four days before death. He died in NAB custody on the 6th of January 2020, a few days before his hearing scheduled for the 17th of January 2020.
- Raja Asim
Raja Asim was arrested in the stock exchange corruption case on the 26th of March 2014. After five years in custody without sentencing, his case remained inconclusive, while other accused individuals in the same circumstances were not pursued. Due to delayed provision of healthcare/medication for pneumonia, Raja Asim passed away in NAB custody at the age of 42. His death was declared after a delay of five days.
- Brigadier (r) Asad Munir
Former Military Intelligence officer and prominent defense analyst Brig (r) Asad Munir committed suicide after the emergence of media reports that NAB had decided to file a reference of abuse of office against him. His body was found hanging from a ceiling fan in his apartment in Diplomatic Enclave on the 16th of March 2019.
He left a suicide note, addressed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), seeking action against NAB’s conduct against those who have not even been convicted.
- Muhammad Nasir Sheikh
Muhammad Nasir Shaikh, an additional director (land) of KDA, was arrested by NAB on the 27th of November 2015 for alleged China-cutting and land grabbing. With his death in April 2019, he became the second KDA official held without prosecution and to pass away in custody.
- Professor Dr. Tahir Amin
Professor Dr. Tahir Amin, a renowned educationist, international relations expert, and the vice-chancellor of Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan, was accused of nepotism and financial malpractice. NAB chief initiated a probe against him on the complaint of a former colleague. Under tremendous stress, he also made an abortive attempt to commit suicide and later died of a heart attack on the 5th of April 2019.
- Qaisar Abbas
Qaisar Abbas was arrested in the Nandipur Power Project Case on the 30th of August 2018. He was shifted to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) after complaining of chest pain. He passed away on the 1st of October 2019.
- Chaudhry Arshad
Chaudhry Arshad, the chairperson of the Members Welfare Committee of Ministry of Commerce Employees Cooperative Housing Society (MOCECHS), was arrested by the anti-graft watchdog over charges of corruption allegedly leveled by corrupt officials with nexus of land mafia. According to reports, Chaudhry Arshad was under severe pressure to sign documents to occupy the housing society when he suffered a heart attack and passed away on the 7th of August 2018.
- Muhammad Saleem
NAB apprehended Muhammad Saleem, the deputy director (revenue) of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), in September 2017 in connection with the LDA commercialization fee corruption case based on an anonymous complaint. Despite suffering from liver disease, he was sent to Camp Jail on judicial remand by an accountability court. When his health deteriorated, he was shifted to Services Hospital, where he died in NAB custody on the 24th of December 2018.
- Abdul Qavi Khan
Abdul Qavi Khan, another KDA officer, was arrested on the 27th of November 2015. He was accused of illegal construction and sale/purchase of plots in a housing scheme named “University Hill Villas”. He died under mysterious circumstances at Central Jail Karachi.
Human rights champion IA Rehman said:
NAB’s little respect for human rights is widely known. The extent to which NAB violates human rights can only be established by documentation, a process in which this institution is not interested. Surprisingly, NAB victims, too, have not attempted a record-based assessment of this critical institution’s performance. In this situation, a fact sheet prepared by former senator Sehar Kamran can only be welcomed. The first shocking fact presented in this report is that NAB is allegedly responsible for causing 12 deaths.
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