Criticism of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is making rounds on all front after the Director General (DG) of NAB Shahzad Saleem gave a series of interviews to the media regarding the Shahbaz Sharif inquiry during his time as Chief Minister (CM) of Punjab. In a bid to gain momentum for the accountability body, the DG turned to media to use the case as proof of the credibility of their work. However, the case was neither well explained nor could do justice to the ongoing investigations, leading to the general perception that the body lacks professional competence and does not understand how to deal with high profile cases.

This turn of events is a cause of concern because the main focus of the body, at this point, is to carry out the investigation without any interference and giving information to media that does justice to the ongoing inquiry. High profile cases are bound to attract controversy and for this very reason, officials are prohibited from giving interviews and all public offices have a Public Relations team to deal with questions and not break under pressure. There are also claims that the DG Lahore went on television without permission which means surpassing authority and that is certainly an act he must be held accountable for.

The opposition is already very sensitive about the issues being raised and was quick to point out how the trial was used against them by making it very public and not doing justice to the case. The way information was presented made it seem like Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif was not ready to cooperate with the authorities in the case, but that is not true. The parliamentarian has never refused to cooperate regarding the case. If NAB finds anything against the clauses of law, it must be investigated but cases should only be made public information when the required persons have all the relevant data.

At this point, the interviews made it seem like a witch-hunt and made space for a Senate committee to look into the workings of the bureau. The committee has demanded the record of everything which was taken up by the NAB over a period of nineteen years since its inception. This investigation alone can open up new avenues which might require a revamp of the bureau and its workings. The most NAB chairman can do, at this point, is to cooperate with the government and ensure enforcement of professionalism.