After a strenuous period of nine months, the government and the opposition finally seem to be on the same page regarding the perusal of amendments in the laws regarding the jurisdiction of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). In the recent past, several NAB inquiries have been made public, making cases open to public and media opinion prior to complete investigation, prompting a discussion regarding amendments. There are some pertinent questions which arise from the debate between the government and opposition. There is a need to define the jurisdiction of NAB when it comes to public and private inquiries, the availability of information before the verdict, defining corrupt practices, and the identification of a public office holder.

The opposition wants to ensure that the amendments made will help the political system to minimise political victimisation at the change of regime. This realisation has come after the introduction of a third party into the system, which has changed the dynamics of a two-party system in Pakistan. Two of the key demands of the opposition are to also limit the definition of a public office holder so that case proceedings do not involve family members of political actors in Pakistan and also put the onus of proof on the prosecutor. The government, on the other hand, wants to keep international practices in this regard in mind along with the practices in Pakistan to ensure that NAB officials work regardless of a regime change.

There is certainly a need to identify historical practices within Pakistani political system to make amendments in the law along with a detailed discussion within parliament regarding the matter. Since both sides, the government and the opposition, are on the same page regarding amendments, they now need to identify that a middle ground needs to be worked upon in order to ensure that there is a significant amount of progress achieved as a result of the entire debate so that the entire activity is not futile. It appears that the opposition goes too far in its suggestions for reforms and the government doesn’t go far enough- a balance needs to be achieved. At the same time, there is also a need to identify the timeline for the application of the amendments so that the umbrella of accountability engulfs majority of the political shifts in Pakistan. This will not only enhance the coordination between all relevant political actors but also take away the narrative which describes the entire activity as political victimisation by the ruling party.