Performance and competence of NAB as prosecuting agency tasked to ensure punishment of individuals involved in corruption and recovery of pilfered or stolen money, can be judged from their success or failure in achieving that objective. From its very onset, NAB was doomed to fail, with Saifur Rahman using it as tool for coercion, followed by Musharraf junta using it for blackmailing and extracting money through plea bargains, becoming a Laundromat and numerous former chairmen benefitting with lucrative LPG quotas, gifting of palatial houses etc. 

For NAB to function as an effective tool for accountability, it must have professionals qualified in white collar financial forensic science, instead of becoming dumping ground for political nominees and welfare organization for retired security service officers. It should become an autonomous body with constitutional powers to acquire services of FIA, sensitive intelligence agencies, law enforcement etc on a need basis, without being subject to their control. Unless NAB cleanses its own house, their success rate will continue to be dismally poor with recovered amount less than administrative expenditure. 

Pakistan is on watch list for money laundering and suspicious financial transactions, which makes it more important for state to hire services of financial forensic experts. The abusive manner in which NAB has been used by both civil and military regimes to achieve their political objectives and blackmailing adversaries through coercion, intimidation or threats to become members of so called King’s Party are reasons for its failure. Remember the manner in which NAB came to rescue of former Admiral Mansoor, who was caught in USA for possessing assets which he could not justify, just like they facilitated Zahid Ali Akbar and numerous others, making a mockery of its role as accountability bureau. 

MALIK T ALI,  

Lahore, September 19.