Every country must have a system of accountability. This is used to monitor the activities of the departments from the various sectors. Illegal practices leading to corruption must be monitored and controlled. This happens when someone in the organization – at the lower levels or from the executive management – is involved in dishonest practices.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been doing a commendable job in screening and monitoring those who are misusing their power to achieve monetary benefits. Keeping in mind the kind of corruption that prevails across the government – and in some cases the private organizations – NAB does have its hands full.
The vision and mission of NAB must be read and understood to comprehend the organization’s core objectives. Its vision is to be a credible, effective, efficient and dynamic anti-corruption organization creating an enabling environment for a corrupt-free society. NAB’s mission is to work to eliminate corruption through a comprehensive approach encompassing prevention, awareness, monitoring and combating.
Ever since NAB was formed, reports claim that it has recovered nearly PKR 240 billion. According to former President Musharraf, NAB was created to put the fear of God in the corrupt, as Pakistan was on the brink of being declared a failed state before he came to power.
NAB’s efforts in curbing corruption and malpractices are commendable. It has certainly made corrupt officials think of the consequences of their illegal actions. This system of accountability has also made honest officers more conscious of their actions. They too have been consciously focusing on not to sway from the right path.
According to NAB, and as a general view, accountability is necessary for a better and prosperous future, to implement transparency and to enhance accountability. NAB, in this regard, has been collecting evidence against the corrupt officers with diligence.
In 2013, NAB took an initiative to train officers in investigative training. This was held at COMSATS University, Islamabad. Following the on-job and off-job training, these officers were placed to various bureaus across Pakistan. This is how NAB extended its influence over society.
Despite the effective modus operandi of NAB, it is facing several challenges. These include a judicial process that takes much time to deliver results and problems to collect prosecutable evidence. This evidence is not collected because the record is not collected or maintained electronically. NAB, therefore, cannot integrate it into its central database.
NAB has also been directing the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to host Anti-Corruption Awareness Drives in universities. Such activities comprise speeches and information exchange on how to curb the menace of corruption. When the students are informed on how such malpractices are carried out and about their corrective measures, a consciousness towards following an honest life manifests. Furthermore, such programs also discuss the adverse impact on the country’s economy and society at large. NAB’s efforts to hold Anti-Corruption Awareness Drives, especially in universities, brings to fore the looming threats of corruption. The youth, who are the future of this country, must be well-aware of why one must never indulge in corruption for they only end in a disaster. NAB, however, must also reach out to schools where teachers can give brief lectures to students on corruption, its causes and why it must be curbed. Such information in the form of animation or presented through cartoon characters will generate the students’ interest in knowing and accepting that corruption must be avoided, negated and curbed at all costs.
NAB also prepared a National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS). According to NACS, the short-term objective is to “set in motion systemic improvements that will strengthen the national integrity system and the people against corruption.” The long-term objective of the NACS is “the elimination of corruption by engaging all the stakeholders in the fight against corruption, through a programme, which is holistic, comprehensive and progressive.”
Since the inception of NAB, it has had a number of chairmen including Saifur Rehman(1997-1999), Commodore Mohammad Zakaullah (1999-2003), Lt-Gen. Muhammad Amjad (2003-2005), Lt-Gen. Shahid Aziz (2005-2007), Naveed Ahsan (2007-2010), Deedar Hussain (2010-2011), Adm. Fasih Bokhari (2011-2013), Qamar Zaman Chaudhry (2013-2017) and Javaid Iqbal (2017-present). The goal of NAB since day one has been to put the culprits behind bars and to extract the looted money from their bank accounts. NAB must streamline its efforts to follow a greater holistic approach in its investigations. This way any Pakistani involved in corruption will be questioned for his actions. A corruption-free society leads to economic growth and accentuates the society’s lifestyle and well-being.