ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed senior bureaucrats to work hard for public welfare and development, solve problems and take the 'risk' of taking timely decisions without fearing the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Presiding over a meeting of federal secretaries and chief secretaries, the prime minister expressed dissatisfaction over his performance, saying that 'we have been in power for over a year but we have not been able to do what people expect'. It may be recalled that about a week ago the secretaries met Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who expressed concerns over the NAB.
Earlier, a delegation from the business community met with the Chief of Army Staff and complained against the NAB. In this regard, Prime Minister's Advisor Arbab Shahzad said that the secretaries complained to the Prime Minister about the 'harassment' and 'intimidation' of the NAB, which prompted government officials to sign official files.
In addition, during a meeting with the Prime Minister, bureaucrats expressed concern over media trials by NAB and other investigative agencies on the basis of complaints made against senior officers. Referring to the arrest of former secretary Usman Ghani 10 years after his retirement, federal secretaries said that additional and joint secretaries were reluctant to take any decision because of NAB's actions.
It may be recalled that at a meeting of the Federal Cabinet a few months ago, a senior bureaucrat had long refused to sign the file of the delayed railway project Mainline-1, in which the Pak-China Economic Transit (C-Pack) Under the new railway line from Karachi to Peshawar will be established.
At a later meeting, senior officials said they did not want to launch the ML-1 project because of fear of NAB. On this, Prime Minister Imran Khan assured a bureaucrat at a meeting on Tuesday that he would clear his grievances for a week but would not tolerate 'slowdown' in the pace of work.
The PM's suggestion in this regard was to amend the NAB's "controversial" rules to provide a fearless environment for bureaucrats and businessmen. On the other hand, addressing an event a few days ago, Chairman NAB Justice Javed Iqbal claimed that the Anti-Corruption Bureau would not call for a bureaucrat who works according to the rules and regulations.
He added that 'it is mere propaganda that the bureaucracy has stopped working for fear of the NAB