The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was established in 1999 as Pakistan’s apex anti-corruption organisation which operates under the National Accountability Ordinance 1999, which is extended to all of Pakistan including FATA and Gilgit Baltistan.

Honourable Justice Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB has initiated various complaint verifications, inquiries, investigations and filed corruption references. Inquiries on issues including corruption reports in 56 public limited companies of Punjab, 435 offshore companies of Pakistanis in Panama and British Virgin Islands, the return of housing societies’ plundered money reports, arrest of absconders and proclaimed offenders. Furthermore, the Chairman has started listening to public complaints on every last Thursday of the month and directed DGs of regional bureaus to listen to public complaints related to corruption. The response from citizens was very encouraging and they appreciated the initiative of Chairman NAB for opening the doors of NAB for the general public. Chairman NAB also summoned three executive board meetings and authorised filing of references in various accountability courts after due deliberation. During the period of present management, NAB has received Rs363 billion directly and indirectly from corrupt elements and deposited in the national exchequer, which is a record achievement. The figures of complaints, inquiries and investigations are almost double as compared to the same period of 2018 to 2019. The comparative figures are indicative of the hard work being put in by all ranks of NAB staff in an atmosphere of renewed energy and dynamism, where the fight against corruption is being taken as a national duty. Increase in the number of complaints also reflects enhanced public trust in NAB.

NAB’s operational methodology comprises complaint verification, inquiry and investigation. NAB’s officers/officials need to follow a strict Code of Conduct/SOPs and merit according to the law. Starting from the year 2017—which can basically be called a year of reinvigoration of NAB—we have moved with new zeal and effort. During the tenure of the present management of NAB, the overall conviction ratio in respective accountability courts is about 68.8 percent which is excellent as compared to any other anti-corruption agency.

NAB has established its first Forensic Science Lab (FSL) in NAB Rawalpindi which has facilities of digital forensics, questioned documents and fingerprint analysis. NAB has rationalised its workload and timelines have been prescribed for efficient, effective and expeditious disposal of cases putting a maximum limit of 10 months—from complaint verification-to-inquiry-to-investigation and finally to a reference in the Accountability Court. NAB has also introduced a new System of Combine Investigation Team (CIT) in order to benefit from the experience and collective wisdom of senior supervisory officers, a system of CIT consisting of Director, Additional Director, Investigation Officer and a Senior Legal Counsel has been put in place. This is not only lending quality to the work but also ensuring that no single individual can influence the official proceedings of NAB.

As per the latest report of Transparency International (TI) of 2016, Pakistan’s ranking in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has improved plus 9 points, adding that Pakistan was considered a role model in South Asian countries in its efforts against corruption. This is a great achievement for Pakistan due to NAB’s efforts. The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in Pakistan as per Transparency International (TI), report was declining after 2013 due to steps taken by the present management of NAB against the corrupt. Besides Transparency International, the Independent National and International watch dogs like PLIDAT and World Economic Forum also appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to curb corruption in Pakistan.

Under the leadership of Justice Javed Iqbal, NAB has undertaken a number of strategic initiatives aimed at rejuvenation of the organisation. The organogram was revisited to transform NAB into an efficient and responsive organisation. NAB has devised a Quantifiable Grading System (QGS) to monitor the performance of all regions on an annual basis. From 2015, under the Quantifiable Grading System (QGS) NAB is monitoring the performance of all regional NAB and NAB headquarters on an annual basis in order to know the strengths and weaknesses of NAB regional Bureaus. NAB has also introduced an Internal Accountability Mechanism (IAM) System.

NAB has developed an effective Monitoring and Evaluation System (MES) catering the needs of all concerned having salient features of maintenance of data at each stage including complaint entry, complaint verification, inquiry, investigation, prosecution stage and record preservation of Regional Board Meetings and Executive Board Meetings including case brief, decisions made and list of participants attended the meeting with a time and date and setting up of an effective monitoring and evaluation system and ability to analyse data in qualitative and quantitative form having warnings and alarms system for violators.

NAB hosted the first SAARC Seminar in Islamabad where the heads of SAARC anti-corruption authorities agreed to the creation of SAARC Anti-Corruption Forum. Pakistan was elected as the first Chairman of the SAARC Anti-Corruption Forum. This is a major achievement for both NAB as well as the government. NAB has signed an MoU with China to streamline and structure and cooperation in the fields of anti-corruption. In the context of CPEC, this cooperation will further boost confidence in projects undertaken in Pakistan. On the directions of Justice Javed Iqbal, NAB has started an awareness and prevention campaign besides an enforcement drive in order to arrest corrupt and recover from them hard-earned looted money of innocent people and also aware people through its awareness and prevention campaign under section 33C of NAO 1999 about the ill effects of corruption. NAB has also been engaging with different governmental and non-governmental organisations and civil society in the fight against corruption as Chairman NAB strongly believes in the eradication of corruption by adopting a zero-tolerance policy across the country without any fear and favour. NAB hopes that the joint efforts of all stakeholders can collaborate to check corruption and corrupt practices with the help of all stakeholders, civil society, media and people at large.