Court asks NAB not to harass UoP archaeology teacher

Dawn

PESHAWAR: While confirming his pre-arrest bail, the Peshawar High Court on Wednesday directed the National Accountability Bureau not to harass associate professor of Department of Archaeology, University of Peshawar, Dr Zakirullah during the ongoing investigation into a corruption case against director of archaeology department Dr Abdus Samad.
A bench consisting of Justice Ikramullah Khan and Justice Musarrat Hilali observed that the NAB’s actions in accountability cases should strictly follow the law and that the bureau shouldn’t harass the people, who had nothing to do with corruption cases.
Petitioner Dr Zakirullah, who is also an official of the Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Museum, University of Peshawar, had filed a petition claiming that the NAB, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has been harassing him through the issuance of a call-up notice in the case of director (archaeology) Dr Abdus Samad, while he had no connection with the case.
In Feb, the high court had granted interim pre-arrest bail to the petitioner asking him to produce two surety bonds valuing Rs300,000 each.
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Ashfaq Khan Daudzai, lawyer for the petitioner, contended that the NAB had issued a call-up notice to his client asking him to appear before an investigation team in the Dr Samad corruption case.
He said the petitioner feared arrest by the NAB.
The lawyer said his client had got nothing to do with the affairs of Peshawar Museum as he worked at the Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Museum of the University of Peshawar.
He said the Peshawar Museum and UoP’s museum were separate entities with the former being overseen by the provincial government and the latter by the university.
The lawyer said while Dr Samad worked at the directorate of archaeology, his client was an employee of the UoP and therefore, the two had no links.
He said the NAB recently filed a reference against director (archaeology) Dr Samad accusing him of misusing his authority by allegedly carrying out some illegal appointments.
The lawyer added that six other officials of the archaeology department were also named in the reference.
He said his client wasn’t named as the accused in the reference.
The lawyer said as the petitioner had nothing to do with the matter, the issuance of a call-up notice to him was not only unjustified but it was also harassment.
A NAB prosecutor informed the court that warrants for the arrest of the petitioner hadn’t been issued by the NAB chairman and therefore, his arrest in the case was unlikely to happen.
During hearing, the bench observed that the NAB had been inflicting mental torture on people by issuing call-up notices in an irresponsible manner.
The bench wondered when a person was not a suspect in a case, then how a call-up notice could be issued to him.
It observed that NAB shouldn’t ignore the dignity of a person while issuing such notices.
The court added that if an innocent person was trapped in an corruption case, he had to face embarrassment in front of his family, including children, and even acquittal didn’t restore his honour in society.

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