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What Is NAB and How Much Power Does It’s Chairman Have?

What Is NAB and How Much Power Does It’s Chairman Have?


The Chairman of NAB has been in gotten into a little trouble lately.

After a leaked voice recording was sent to the media, the chairman of NAB has been in the news cycle. So we decided to take a look at what exactly does NAB do, and what powers does it and its Chairman have.

This is part of our series that examines important positions in our country and the powers they have been given. Let us know in the comments below who you would us to do next.

Purpose of NAB

The National Accountability Bureau was created in 1999 during Nawaz Sharif’s tenure. The constitution grants to launch investigations, conduct inquiries, and issues arrests warrants against the individuals suspected in the financial mismanagement, terrorism, corruptions (all in private-sector, state-sector, defence sector, and corporate-sector), and directs cases to accountability courts.

NAB has been accused of being a tool for which the government goes after oppositions. When it was established in 1999, most of the cases investigated by the body were related to the PPP. Under Musharraf’s time, this was done again, going after oppositions then too. Many have accused this recent media fiasco as a way to continue going to same. Many have also accused NAB of overlooking when army generals or retired army generals are involved within corruption scandals.

Structure of NAB

The National Accountability Bureau is headed by the Chairman. Under him, you have a Vice Chairman. Then there is the Prosecutor General, who heads the prosecution wing. And the Investigator General heads the investigation wing. There is a board, which comprises of all these members, plus senior members of the investigation and prosecution wings.

Chairman of NAB

Now the part everyone’s been waiting for, the Chairman. The Chairman is chosen by the government for a 4 years term. In a bit to be able to choose an impartial chairman, both the government and opposition must sign off on the appointment. The individual must be someone with experience within the field. As a result, NAB Chairmans have been retired generals, head of police, and most recent, judges.  

The power of the chairman is to guide the body within its investigations, inquiries, issues arrests and prosecution of cases. This gives the Chairman a lot of power in terms of deciding who gets prosecuted or not.

To remove the Chairman of NAB, a petition must be filed with the Supreme Judicial Council, just like a judge. The president can file this, and now, anyone can file these.