The National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Tuesday issued a call-up notice to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman, directing him to appear before its investigation team next month in an inquiry launched on charges of corruption and possessing assets beyond means.
The notice, issued under Section 19 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, was sent to Rehman’s residence in Dera Ismail Khel.
The inquiry is against ex-MNA Rehman and others “regarding corruption and corrupt practices/accumulation of assets beyond means”.
It said the subject inquiry had revealed that Rehman was “in possession of information/evidence whatsoever which relates to the commission of [the] said offence”.
The notice called upon the JUI-F chief to appear before CIT (combined investigation team)-I at NAB’s regional office on October 1 at 11am in order to “record your statement/plea in the subject inquiry”.
Failure to comply with the notice may entail penal consequences as per the Schedule of NAO, 1999, the summons stated.
According to a letter sent to an additional director of NAB KP by the Islamabad headquarters of the accountability watchdog, NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal had approved the “authorisation of inquiry” against Rehman and others on Sept 14. An authorisation letter signed by Iqbal on Sept 18 was also forwarded to NAB KP for necessary action.
The development comes two days after Fazl’s JUI-F, along with other major opposition parties, held a multi-party conference where they announced launching of a three-phased anti-government movement under an “action plan” starting from next month with countrywide public meetings, protest demonstrations and rallies in December and a “decisive long march” towards Islamabad in January 2021.
The opposition routinely accuses the government of using NAB to witch hunt opposition members in the name of accountability. The government denies the allegations, saying the watchdog is independent and its chairman was appointed by the opposition PML-N and PPP themselves.
Last month, NAB’s KP office had issued a similar notice to a younger brother of Rehman, who is an officer of the provincial government, directing him to appear before a CIT in an inquiry launched on multiple charges, including possessing illegal assets.