Asad Munir suicide highlights problems with NAB investigation process

News Desk

In the early morning of Friday, retd. Brigadier Asad Munir was found dead at his Islamabad home of an apparent suicide.

Asad Munir was a very well-known news analyst as well as being a competent authority on Afghan issues. During his services with the armed forces, Asad Munir held a few sensitive posts and also worked as a senior CDA official.

When news broke that Asad Munir has taken his own life, many speculated to the legitimacy of the news, however, what many of his close friends and journalists had feared, came to pass.

At around 4 am on Friday, Asad Munir’s body was found hanging from a fan by his wife. He left behind a suicide note which was later found by his family. The suicide note was directed towards the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa. With regards to the letter, Asad Munir wrote that, “I am committing suicide to avoid humiliation, being handcuffed and paraded in front of media.”

Sources and close friends indicate that, Asad Munir took his own life due to the increasing pressures from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Asad had been under NAB scrutiny since 2008, when he asked for the restoration of a plot in F-11, however, in the year 2017 his life was made increasingly difficult and miserable.

For starters, the Interior Ministry put him on the Exit Control List (ECL) based on the allegations filed by NAB that accused him of corruption. His review against this appeal to the Secretary Interior was ignored and therefore, he remained on the ECL for more than a year. A day before his death, NAB approved of a reference against him.

Before the incident transpired, he rang a friend and told him about the apprehensions of being arrested, which he later described as being extremely humiliating.

Ironically, this is not the first instance in which the NAB can be held accountable for inflicting harm on others. In December 2018, University of Sargodha’s ex-CEO, Mian Javed Ahmed, died in NAB custody. The family of the deceased blamed the jail authorities claiming that, “The health condition of Mr. Ahmed was not well. He reported this to the jail authorities on Friday morning, but they did not bother about it and delay in shifting him to the hospital resulted in his death. His life might have been saved had he been given medical treatment on time.”

NAB is known to have taken steps that may be considered extremely harsh when looking into the accountability of the people that it claims have conspired or been involved in corruption.

The former CJP Mian Saqib Nisar, had also taken a suo moto case against the NAB to investigate matters that it had been accused of.

More importantly, while addressing a gathering in September PM Imran Khan said, “That I have spoken to the chairman of NAB and told him that even if you have to investigate a bureaucrat, under no circumstances are you allowed to humiliate them.” Later adding that, “we will make ensure that there is no negative pressure on you [bureaucrats].”

However, this seemed to have little to no effect on NAB as it continued to humiliate its suspects including Sindh Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani. It’s high time an authority like NAB is held accountable for its misbehavior and harassment of its suspects.

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