Impeding accountability: NAB faults PPP govt for affecting its actions against c


    Impeding accountability: NAB faults PPP govt for affecting its actions against corruption

    The Supreme Court was absolutely right in expressing dissatisfaction over what it called the painfully slow progress in the investigation of such high-profile cases which included names like incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ex-prime ministers Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and co-chairman PPP and former president Asif Ali Zardari.

    However, NAB chief Qamar Zaman Chaudhry expressed satisfaction with the performance of the bureau, and to prove his claim, he gave details of NAB’s performance record in fifteen years from 1999 to 2014, during which period, it recovered Rs.261 billion against costs and expenses of about Rs.10 billion.

    What Qamar Zaman Chaudhry forgot to take into account was that his bureau was not a normal business concern which could be commended for earning revenue (recoveries) of over Rs.17 billion a year against annual expenditure of under one billion.

    To get some idea of the state of performance of the bureau, readers have got to know what was the total amount involved in the frauds which NAB investigated and against which a recovery of Rs.261 billion was made in fifteen years.

    Another important factor to consider would be as to how effective the bureau has been in preventing the persons under investigation from gaining influential positions which could place them in a position to commit further massive frauds in addition to those already under investigation. And surely the fact that one of the persons under investigation proceeded to become the president of Pakistan, while his party is firmly in saddle in Sindh province, and another happens to be the present Prime Minister of the country, is indeed a sad reflection on the performance of the National Accountability Bureau.

    And that is not all. A close relative of the Prime Minister holds the portfolio of the Federal Minister of Finance while PM’s younger brother happens to head the provincial government of Punjab, as Chief Minister. As such, the two brothers control the bulk of the total resources of the government. With the state of affairs being what it is, surely the confidence expressed by Qamar Zaman Chaudhry in the performance of NAB seems rather misplaced, and by a very large margin.

    The biggest impediment to the independent working of NAB is that their all powerful chiefs are appointed by, and work at the pleasure of the head of government and the loyal opposition leader, who themselves, and/or their colleagues may be under suspicion and investigation. In such a situation, the employing authorities would hardly be willing to appoint as NAB chief an independent, capable person who could pose a direct threat to them. And this was what was behind the non-appointment of a replacement, leading to a situation where the office of the chairman remained vacant for four months in 2010, seven months in 2011 and about six months in 2013 and since only chairman is authorized to initiate new cases, during this period no new cases could be taken up. Moreover, during 2008-9, PPP led government reduced the budgetary provisions of NAB, forcing it to work under-strength, thus adversely affecting its performance.

    In addition to its resolve to eliminate militancy, extremism and terrorism from the country, the military high command seems to be keen in working against economic terrorism as well. And to make this exercise fruitful, the military high command should lend a helping hand to NAB and other agencies involved in the anti-corruption exercise. This is necessary to ensure that the anti-corruption exercise is not restricted just to rounding up some low and mid-level operatives, while leaving the patrons and masterminds untouched.


  • Some of the points I agree with, some, I don't. I agree with the logic that pre-bargaining will create further corruption to make up the loss. For example corruption is Rs.100 and the corruptor pays Rs.40 to settle the account, the act is nothing but encouragement for further corruption and get away with 60% black money turned white. What a joke!

    The writer has given the impression that NAB's unearthing the corruption is final. Not at all. NAB is a investigating cum prosecuting authority. The finality of the corruption done or not done lies with the courts where solid proofs are needed. All we have heard of is that some cases have been disposed of by "pre-bargaining". Which means, NAB has only powers to arrest person/s on suspicion of corruption and then force them to enforce a bargain. This is perhaps flaw in law. Nothing of such kind of deals happen in civilized society. If a person is guilty and you have irrefutable evidence of the crime the best course is adjucating the case in a court of law. I do not know how many cases of corruption have been prosecuted by NAB and what are their end results. I agree that nepotism tends to corruption but again the case of corruption has to be proven in court. That is why, more than dozen cases against Asif Ali Zardari and Nawar Sharif are either pending for want of proofs or disposed of as "not guilty" simply because of lack of evidence. Both PPP and PML-N have been using NAB as instrumental for harassing each other.