Corruption is the mother of all evils and one of the major hurdles in the progress and prosperity of Pakistan. It is heartening to note that the country’s apex anti-corruption organisation, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is a role model not only for the country but also for the entire SAARC countries. Owing to the outstanding performance of NAB, Pakistan’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has decreased from the 175th position to 116th. Pakistan is the only country whose corruption perception index is persistently on a declining trend. The performance of NAB has been lauded by the SAARC countries, including India. NAB had been unanimously elected as Chairman of the SAARC Anti-Corruption Forum, which is a great achievement of Pakistan due to NAB’s efforts.

Pakistan and China have already inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for eradication of corruption. Pakistan and China would jointly work for ensuring transparency in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. NAB is the only anti-corruption institution, which is playing a vital role in recovering looted money from culprits. NAB, during the last financial year 2018-19, has recovered Rs71 billion, through direct and indirect paths, deposited in national exchequer last year. The recovery made possible to return the recovered amount to hundreds of affectees and some government departments. This reflects the excellent performance of NAB. The reports of renowned national and international organisations like PILDAT, Mishal Pakistan, Transparency International Pakistan and World Economic Forum confirm the excellent performance of NAB.

NAB was established in 1999 to eradicate corruption, recover looted money, and deposit it in the national exchequer. The jurisdiction of NAB is the whole of Pakistan. NAB’s Headquarters are in Islamabad, whereas its eight regional offices are located in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Sukkur, Multan and Gilgit-Baltistan. NAB, under the dynamic leadership of Honourable Justice Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB, has reviewed and further improved NAB’s National Anti-Corruption Strategy comprising of awareness, prevention and enforcement, which has been widely acknowledged as an effective strategy for elimination of corruption. Today, more than 1210 corruption references of NAB are under trial in accountability courts of the country. Chairman NAB has ordered filing of early hearing pleas in various accountability courts, so that Rs900 billion could be recovered from corrupt elements and deposited in national exchequer. NAB, since its inception, has recovered Rs326 billion and its overall conviction ratio in accountability courts is about 70 per cent which is much higher than the other anti-corruption establishments in Pakistan.

NAB has prescribed a 10 months’ timeframe for logical conclusion of mega corruption cases. Pakistan is the only country in the world who has prescribed this timeframe for logical conclusion of mega corruption white-collar cases. Justice Javed Iqbal has ordered inquiry in Multan metro project and alleged corruption in 56 public limited companies in Punjab. He has also taken notice of corruption in allotment of industrial and commercial plots allotment by Gwadar Industrial and Estate Development Authority. He is determined to make sure investments in Gwadar and the rest of Balochistan are safe.

The NAB has devised a grading system to judge the annual performance of NAB officials. Under this grading system, the performances of regional bureaus of NAB are scrutinised every year. Regional bureaus are being informed about their merits and demerits under the Grading system. They are also being directed to overcome their shortcomings. The positive results of grading system are pouring in. NAB has also introduced an effective monitoring and evaluation system. Under this system, a complaint number is being affixed at each complaint, which helps in maintaining the record and proper monitoring and evaluation of performance.

Chairman NAB has himself decided to listen people’s grievances on the last Thursday of each month, which proved very successful. He has ordered all regional bureaus of NAB to also listen to people’s grievances on every last Thursday of each month. The regional bureaus have also been directed to ensure disposal of cases in a mandatory ten months period. NAB has also established a complaint cell at each regional office. CIT system has been established to make the workings of investigation officers more effective. Senior officers have been included in CIT to prevent any influence.

NAB has setup more than 50 thousand character-building societies in various colleges and universities in order to inform students and the youth about the ill effects of corruption at an early age. NAB has signed MoUs with the HEC in this regard. NAB has established a forensic laboratory in Islamabad for scrutinising documents and fingerprints. The establishment of such laboratories not only saves time but also ensures secrecy and quality. NAB has also launched an awareness campaign with the slogan” “NAB’s faith, Corruption-free Pakistan” throughout the country.

The business community and bureaucracy have shown their full confidence in NAB as it is a business friendly department. Considering that the business community is the backbone of development of Pakistan, Chairman NAB has decided that in the future, NAB will not initiate cases related to sales tax and income tax. The business community lauded the efforts of NAB and has shown full confidence upon NAB under the leadership of Chairman NAB. Similarly, NAB has great regard for the bureaucracy. Chairman NAB has addressed large gatherings of bureaucracy in Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar where he assured that the self-respect of every person will be ensured and ample opportunity will be provided to the bureaucracy and other persons to prove their innocence as per law. Chairman NAB has directed all regional bureaus to multiply efforts for arrest of corrupt elements, especially absconders and proclaimed offenders. NAB has also issued requests of Mutual Legal Assistance to various countries for provision of information of accused persons as per law as NAB is the focal person organisation under United Nations Conventions against corruption (UNCAC). NAB under the dynamic leadership of Honourable Mr Justice Javed Iqbal, has been rejuvenated and geared up to the expectations of the nation for a corruption-free Pakistan.