By Amir Mateen and Rauf Klasra
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry has been caught receiving partial pension illegally for the last 34 years, submitting false affidavit that he was without job and that he was receiving “no remuneration” from anywhere.
The latest issue that makes his job as National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman even more questionable is the alleged fraud and forgery that he committed about his undue pension from the Army.
The Accountability Tsar has been drawing partial pension from Army for the last 34 years, falsely stating every month, in a certified affidavit, that he receives "no remuneration for serving in any capacity either in a government establishment or (in) an establishment paid from a local paid fund."
Imagine that we have somebody in-charge of our accountability who has been lying for, no less, a quarter of a century that "I am not employed anywhere" and am "not in receipt of dearness increase from any employer." And during this time he served on the top positions that this country can offer—from Education federal secretary to Lahore Commissioner to Azad Kashmir Chief Secretary, not to forget the most lucrative post of Capital Development Authority Chairman. Ironically, he was Interior Secretary, which supervises Pakistan's premium investigative agency, the FIA, before he was chosen as the NAB Chairman by PPP-PML (N)--in a controversial consensus that Imran Khan calls as “muk-mukkaa”.
What a sorry state of affairs that during all these tenures nobody could find out that he was also drawing pension declaring himself as unemployed--not even the Army that likes to claim that it has a foolproof self-accountability mechanism. That the amount ranges between just a few thousand rupees shows that greed has no bounds.
The story goes that Qamar Zaman (a Kaira of Gujjar clan) got himself inducted in civil service from the Army in very dubious circumstances (details later) in 1982. Rules were bypassed as he was ADC to the powerful dictator, General Ziaul Haq. He was not entitled to any pension as neither did he retire because of superannuation (completion of age tenure) nor did he retire prematurely. He was simply inducted into the then Civil Services Group (CSP) on Army quota.
Nobody is entitled for pension after six-seven years of service when you are simply being transferred from civil to military. However, there is a provision for partial pension for those who get removed from army and are found to be unemployed and in impoverished conditions. But you need to declare that you are unemployed and not drawing any salary from anywhere—either from the government or a private enterprise. Qamar Zaman Chaudhary did precisely that.
Qamar Zaman Chaudhry submitted a wrong certificate and for 34 long years, filing a stamped affidavit every month with his signature and thump impression. He declared himself as unemployed even he was Interior Secretary in 2012 and does that even now as NAB Chairman.
What do we do when the person supposed to hold Pakistan accountable, Qamar Zaman Chaudhary, happens to be the alleged linchpin of the corrupt mafia with a lot to be held accountable for?
This comes at the heels of accusations that he sits over hundreds of corruption cases, involving top businessmen and politicians including at least three former prime ministers, holding the accountability process from going forward. It was only on the orders the Supreme Court that a reluctant NAB submitted 179 cases that have been lying dormant for the last 15 years. This includes who’s who of Pakistan’s elite but the issue seems to have died down as was the activism of the courts.
Qamar Zaman is accused of saving, to name a few, the likes of Dr Asim, Iqbal Z Ahmad, Mian Mohammad Mansha and Zahid Rafiq. He also sits over cases against Ishaq Dar and Shahbaz Sharif—though they are in the category of minor offences of “living beyond means”. He was earlier also accused of receiving kickbacks in the infamous NLC case but was rescued dubiously by a subordinate that he has now rewarded by promotion in the NAB.
A dossier has been submitted to the Supreme Court that gives a chilling account of accusations against Qamar Zaman Chaudhry that include heroin smuggling, human trafficking, kickbacks, bribery, nepotism, forgery and fraud.
One of the accusations is that he sits over at least two dozen cases against Malik Riaz who allegedly happens to be his biggest benefactor. Another accusation is that the reason for his survival is that he has always rescued his bosses. First it was Asif Zardari who got bailed out in almost all cases. Now he guards the interests of the Sharif family. The dossier alleges that he maintains a close liaison with a tycoon who got his son married to PM's granddaughter recently.
You would not find an accountability chief even in a banana republic accused of such heinous crimes. How he runs NAB to save all his favourites is a classic example of official manipulation. More on that in coming days.
To be continued