National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bukhari has said that President Asif Ali Zardari asked the body not to pursue any old or new corruption cases against the Sharif Brothers.
While interviewing with The Friday Times, the NAB Chairman observed, “Go ahead and do whatever you have to do in line with rules and regulations. But you must not pursue cases against Sharif brothers. I have suffered, and I know what it feels like”.
The accountability bureau has a track-record of hounding political figures at the behest of ruling party. The defunct Ehtesab Bureau, under its first chairman Saifur Rehman, earned infamy for targeting the opponents of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The PPP and PML-N signed a Charter of Democracy (CoD), consolidating their commitment to fair politics in the Bhurban Declaration inked in March 2008.
While interviewing, the NAB chairman explained, “I am not here to please the Supreme Court, the government or any other state institution. I am not here for self-projection. I only prefer to serve under the mandate I am given”.
Rejecting the impression that Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and President Zardari exercised pressure on him to get undue favors, he asserted that he had never discussed to either two personalities before taking charge of the authority.
The NAB chairman, who was recently criticized for his statement about presidential immunity, is a party in the Swiss courts against President Asif Ali Zardari in the graft cases.
He was of the opinion that there was no controversy in the question of presidential immunity, adding that president enjoys immunity under the Constitution and that had also been recognized by the Supreme Court in the judgments.
Bukhari said that both Nawaz Sharif and Gen (Retd) Pervez Musharraf went after Asif Ali Zardari for 16 years. However, they failed to bring back the money presumably laying in some Swiss bank accounts, he added.
He commented, “It would have been better to proceed against the man (Zardari), who then had no (presidential) immunity. The chief justice could have taken a suo moto notice”.
The powerful boss of the controversial institution dispelled the impression that a society could be cleansed of corruption altogether, arguing the level of corruption could be reduced to the extent that the big fish do not operate freely.