National Accountability Bureau

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National Accountability Bureau
قومی احتساب بیورو
NAB Pakistan logo.png
NAB Lahore.jpg
NAB Office, Lahore
Agency overview
Formed1999; 23 years ago (1999) as Ehtesab Cell
HeadquartersIslamabad Capital Venue
Agency executive
Parent departmentAutonomous (Autonomous)

The National Accountability Bureau (Urdu: قومی احتساب بیورو; abbreviated NAB) is an autonomous and constitutionally established federal institution responsible to build efforts against corruption and prepare critical national economic intelligence assessments against economic terrorism for the Government of Pakistan.[1] It is headed by Justice (R) Javed Iqbal as its chairman.

The NAB is empowered to undertake any necessary prevention and awareness, in all means, in addition to enforce its operations against economic terrorism and financial crimes.[1] Since it was established by Pervez Musharraf on 16 November 1999, its sphere of operations has been expanded and extended.[2] The constitution grants power to launch investigations, conduct inquiries, and issues arrest warrants against individuals suspected of financial mismanagement, economic terrorism, corruption (all in private-sector, state-sector, defence-sector, and corporate-sector), and directs cases to the accountability courts.[1]

Established by Ordinance No. XIX,[3] its powers have been extended to conduct inquiries at higher levels by Article 270AA[4] of the Constitution of Pakistan.[1] With its chief headquarters located in Islamabad, it has four regional offices in the four provinces, as well as the four capital territories of Pakistan.[5]


The bureau has two principal officers: the Chairman; and the Prosecutor General of Accountability in Pakistan. The Chairman is the head of investigation, and serves a four-year term. Lt-Gen Syed Mohammad Amjad was the first chairman of the bureau. Justice (R) Javed Iqbal is the present chairman of NAB. The Prosecutor General is the head of prosecution, and serves a three-year term. A retired justice Asghar Haider is current Prosecutor General of National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Performance and notable operations[edit]

Financial recoveries[edit]

Since its formation, the institution has recovered over ₨. 240 Bn (approximately US$ 4 Bn) from corruption committed by country's elite politicians, bureaucrats, former military officers, and those involved in the white-collar crimes. According to Musharraf the "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 I came to power."

In its research studies published by NAB in 2011, the institution has recovered ₨. 119.5Bn from bank defaults and provided ₨. 60Bn to restructured the banks.[6] by September 2019

Prosecution and investigations[edit]

In 2011, the NAB reported that it has 1791 cases that were under prosecution, out of which, 1093 cases prosecutions were completed.[7]


In 2013, inducted a large number of officers and conducted their Investigation Training at COMSATS University in Islamabad. The officers, after successful completion of the Seven Months off-job and 2 Months on-job training, were posted to different bureaus within the country. There are various challenges currently faced by NAB, including a slow judicial process, difficulty in collecting prosecutable evidence since the majority of country's public record is not electronically archived or integrated into a central database.


The National Accountability Bureau has been criticized by the Supreme Court for mismanagement. Justice Jawad S. Khawaja of the Supreme Court criticized the institution for its practice of 'plea bargain' and described it as 'institutionalized corruption'. Under the said practice the Bureau arrests suspects and negotiates for an out-of-court settlement under which the suspect is made to sign a confession and deposit funds of an amount determined by NAB. Justice Khawaja stated during court proceedings that he believed some NAB officials warn influential suspects before arrest to allow them sufficient time to escape.[8][9]

The NAB has also been criticised of mismanaging the Broadsheet case including making payments to the wrong person as settlements and been held by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) of 'conspiring' to defraud and financially harm Broadsheet LLC.[10][11] The follies and incompetency of NAB had cost Pakistan's taxpayer $28 million in payments as damages as well as a loss of face.[12]

List of chairmen[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d National Accountability Bureau. "National Accountability Bureau". National Accountability Bureau. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  2. ^ Pakistan. "Ordnance No. XVIII of 1999". Constitution of Pakistan. Constitution of Pakistan. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010".
  5. ^ Govt. Pakistan. "National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance 1999". Govt. Pakistan. Govt. Pakistan. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  6. ^ "Financial recoveries".
  7. ^ "Prosecution Data".
  8. ^ "NAB affairs come under scrutiny at Supreme Court". DAWN. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  9. ^ "SC cancels bail of prime accused in Pattoki Housing Society corruption case". Pakistan Observer. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  10. ^ Syed, Wajid Ali (18 January 2021). "NAB 'conspired' to defraud Broadsheet". The News Pakistan.
  11. ^ Malik, Hasnaat (10 June 2020). "NAB seeks $17m for payment of penalty". Express Tribune.
  12. ^ "Broadsheet Judgement". The Dawn. 20 January 2021.

External links[edit]