Islamabad: Former Pakistan National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief Lt.Gen (retired) Shahid Aziz has accused former President General Pervez Musharraf of intervening in the working of the bureau to prevent action against some leading political leaders and his close associates.
Lt.Gen Aziz, who was removed from his post abruptly, said that Musharraf and the then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz often hampered the working of the agency in order to safe guard some of the highly controversial chiefs of big business houses on the plea that any action against them would ‘discourage’ economic progress.
Speaking after the expiry of the period that prevented him from discussing service matters, Lt.Gen Aziz revealed that he was constantly pressurised to hand over the lists of politicians being probed by the NAB, but he refused to do so.
However, Parliament’s Standing Committee later ordered the agency to part with the lists, The Dawn reports.
He also disclosed that he was appointed as the NAB chairman with a pre-condition that he would not open old cases against politicians and other prominent people and was pressured into formally closing down cases against politicians supporting Musharraf.
“I was told repeatedly not to create problems and not to destabilise the government, otherwise the system would collapse. They (the president and his team) gave a strange logic that corruption and economic development go hand in hand,” said Aziz.
“If you stop corruption, there will be no development. If ministers and politicians are not given personal benefits in contracts, why would they pursue development schemes? They have to be given personal incentives…contracts to their sons and kins,” he quoted Khalid Maqbool, a former NAB chairman, as saying, while trying to convince him.
Aziz recalled one instance, when Musharraf had personally called him to drop the name of one Malik Riaz Hussain from the exit control list.
Hussain was one of prime accused in a multi-million-forest land scam.
“As President of Pakistan, I give my personal guarantee that he (Malik Riaz) would not run away. Isn’t a personal guarantee of the President of Pakistan sufficient to satisfy you’, the former NAB chairman quoted Musharraf, as saying.
Malik’s name was pulled out of the ECL subsequently, Aziz added.