Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which was an ardent supporter of making the accountability mechanism in the country independent and powerful, has of late been blamed for creating hurdles in the reformation of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Both political parties the PML-N and the PPP have in their relative terms tried to delay and get rid of the NAB respectively, but as it came into existence as an act of Parliament, the PPP government with a thin majority could not pass legislation on it.

When the NAB was established in 1999, the constitution granted it powers to launch investigations, conduct inquiries, and issues arrests warrants against the individuals suspected in the financial mismanagement, terrorism, corruptions in all financial sectors and direct cases to accountability courts. But unfortunately corruption has tainted the NAB itself, reducing it to a body, that functions at the whims of its beneficiaries. The effectiveness of the NAB has come under fire many times in the past with pressure building from political parties as well as the Supreme Court.

Justice Jawad S Khawaja criticized the institution for its practice of ‘plea bargain’ and described it as ‘institutionalized corruption.’ Under the said practice the Bureau arrests suspects and negotiates for an out-of-court settlement under which the suspect is made to sign a confession and deposit funds of an amount determined by NAB.

Under the current circumstances it is a pressing need, that the NAB is reformed and legislation is passed with due diligence; with a few points of discord the lapsed draft bill of National Accountability Commission was final in all respects and does not any require review. Hence all efforts to stall the process must be stopped immediately so there is a strict measure of accountability within the business community as well as the state institutions to root out corruption from this country.