The National Accountability Bureau Sindh has recovered 23,000 acres of land worth Rs1.4 trillion from land grabbers- a feat they have proudly announced to the public.

While addressing a seminar – ‘Transparency in Construction Industry’- organised by Association of Builders and Developers, Pakistan, the NAB Sindh Director Sirajul Naeem announced this as an important achievement, given the crucial role the construction industry is playing for the country.

NAB has made sure that the public is aware of their efforts for eliminating corruption in the agencies dealing with construction industry in the country. For them the future crackdown of similar cases will reduce the cost by at least 30 percent for housing units, making them affordable for middle class families. Moreover, it will lead to a ban over allotment of land and the interests of third party would end, resolving 80 percent issues relating to the sector.

This all sounds well and good. However, with NAB not giving any information regarding it, other than getting it form ‘land-grabbers’ –much is to be speculated and doubted. Where did they get this land? Who does it belong to now? Is it the property of the state? Who was it taken from? Without telling the public almost anything, it is not far from assuming that this might be a ruse by the anti-corruption organization to remain relevant and look busy.

In the most recent allegation against the NAB, despite four-and-a-half years elapsing, they failed to investigate the embezzlement of billions of rupees by a Pakistan mission in Japan and Indonesia- the Embassies at the relevant time, misappropriating huge amounts in the sale of Pakistani property. If they could not solve such a straight forward case, one must doubt this recent accolade they want the public to bestow upon them.

People have gotten tired of the same old stories, and the same old cases. NAB has been under constant scrutiny for a long time, where despite having a sum of 6 billion allotted to them, they fail to arrest proclaimed offenders- a list of which that that sees no end.

The regulation part of NAB will only be conducted effectively if the people chosen for doing that part are capable and empowered enough to take tough decisions of going against the tide. But with our track record of following investigations, it seems that the worst offenders routinely get away because of the incompetence of NAB. And even though we want to believe that the NAB is actually doing something worthwhile, its history only makes us skeptical.