The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) proactive approach to accountability can be witnessed by its move to authorise another eleven references in public interest. Chairman NAB and his team have shown that political power or interest does not deter the drive to root out corruption from a system that has historically avoided transparency and the practice of conducting business above board. Contrary to popular belief, NAB had been conducting investigations and moving against those implicated in the references long before the Prime Minister even raised this issue.

There is a false perception among some groups that NAB is working on the wishes of the government. But judging by the fact that even some of the ruling party’s own members are being implicated and investigated, there is no patience for favouritism in the Bureau. This is exactly as it should be. For any accountability drive to work, the government must keep itself at a distance and not interfere in the matters of those that make sure the system stays clean.

With an estimated Rs466 billion recovered both directly and indirectly through the Bureau’s tireless efforts, it is clear that the accountability drive is proving to be successful. This large amount can now be reinvested into the country to improve infrastructure and provide some cushion to the national exchequer. The government must publicly reroute this money elsewhere, so there is no opportunity to cast any negative aspersions on this magnificent achievement.

This is yet another opportunity for the Bureau to stand out as a professional and committed institution, and it is clear that these references indicate exactly where NAB stands once more. With these references, it is clear that corrupt practices have no place in Pakistan’s governance system. With investigations moving swiftly, NAB must now make sure that water-tight cases are prepared so that there is no reason for those accused to cry foul at any point in the future.