Whatis public management? And what is public governance? While most people will immediatelyassume that they have a general grasp of what public management entails, fewer will have a feel forwhat is meant by public governance. Publicmanagement is an approach which uses managerial techniques to increase thevalue for money achieved by public services (Bovaird & Löffler, 2009). Trying to define public governance seems to openPandora’s box. Whereas in NPM a lotof attention was paid to the measurement of results (both individual andorganizational) in terms of outputs, public governance pays a lot of attentionto how different organizations interact in order to achieve a higher level of desiredresults – the outcomes achieved by citizens and stakeholders.
Moreover, inpublic governance, the way in which decisions are reached – the processes bywhich different stakeholders interact – are also seen to have a majorimportance in themselves, whatever the outputs or outcomes achieved.Nevertheless, not all practices of public management are part of public governance,and not all aspects of public governance are part of public management (Bovaird,2002). New Public Management’s (NPM)core claim is to make government more efficient and ‘consumer-responsive’ byinjecting business like methods.
Its more focus is on performance management (Pollitt & Bouckaert, 2011).Morethan a decade has passed since the publication of Christopher Hood’sinfluential piece that codified the nature of the New Public Management (NPM)(Hood 1991). NPM was a new paradigm of Public Administration and Management(PAM) and that it would sweep all before it in its triumphal re-casting of thenature of the discipline – in theory and in practice (Osborne, 2006). NPM has actually been a transitorystage in the evolution from traditional PA to what is here called the New Public Governance (NPG). Thegeographic extent of the NPM is limited to the Anglo-American, Australasian and(some) Scandinavian arenas, while PA continues to remain dominant elsewhere(Kickert 1997).
Kettl (2000) uses governance as a concept with which to explorethe internal processes and workings of the NPM. The theoretical roots of NPM are from management studies while roots oNPG are from sociology and network theory (Osborne, 2010). NPM was about intra-organizationalmanagement while Public governance is about inter-organizational governance.
The paradigm shift from NPM to NPG is because of governance is the most important factor in terms ofpublic services as compared to management and administration in which the ruleof law, responsiveness, efficiencyand effectiveness and lastly themain character of accountability isinvolved.Pakistan is a relatively young country, established in theyear 1947 by gaining independencefrom British occupied Indian subcontinent. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan hasbeen regarded as a parliamentary democracy, constituent of the President as theceremonial head of state and the Prime Minister as the head of government. Inthe current multi-party system, thegovernment exercises executive power; legislative power is largely entrusted tothe Parliament (S.Ahmed & Khwaja, 2013).
Unfortunately, after the death of Jinnah, political polarization and strife ledto delay in the framing of the constitution. Governor-General Ghulam Muhammad(1951-1955) and military adventurists like Ayub Khan (1958-1969), Yahya Khan(1969-1971) and Zia-ul Haq (1977-1988) sneaked into the corridors of powerthrough unconstitutional means and justified the impositions of military ruleon various pretexts of economic growth and political stability. Out of morethan 60 years of Pakistan’s history, more than 30 years are plagued by marshallaw i.
e. military rule. Thus, the quality of democracy sufferedimmeasurable losses. A dominant theme of General Pervez Musharraf’s tenure as Pakistan’s ruler has been theneed for good governance. This is to be achieved both by the process of accountability and the introduction ofstructural administrative reforms,which will replace the ‘sham’ parliamentary democracy of the past decade with agrass roots ‘real’ democracy(Talbot, 2002).Despitea long history of reforms, recent reformswere operationalized in 2001 under a new economic policy called the PovertyReduction Program (PRP) designed to facilitate the New Public Management (NPM)influenced transformation. Theoverarching objectives of these reforms were to strengthen the market andpublic sector simultaneously and so that they complemented each other(Iqbal, 2014). The government of Pakistan has introducednumerous administrative reforms butfor the sake of convenience and keeping in view the relevancy of reforms.
Thisessay is focusing on reform of Musharraf’s era, ‘the establishment of NationalAccountability Bureau(J. Khan & Wazir, 2011)’.General Pervez Musharraf came to power withpromises of reforming Pakistani politics and ushering in true democracy. Byearly 2001 Musharraf’s Pakistan wassmarting under international apathy as well as sanctions for its undemocraticrule. Musharraf had established NationalAccountability Bureau (NAB) on November 16, 1999, with the express aim ofensuring across-the-board accountability vide an ordinance. NAB came inhandy for arm-twisting politiciansto join the King’s party, the PML-Q. By March 2000, the NAB had prepared a listof 109 parliamentarians and chargedthem with mis-declaration of assets or financial impropriety. They includedprominent leaders of PML-N and PPP, i.
e., Begum Abida Husain, Raza YousifGilani, Humayun Akhtar and Iftikar Gillani and Aftab Ahmed Sherpao(Behuria, 2009). As per its mandate NAB was to initiate theaccountability process from January 1, 1985.
NAB was authorized to carryout investigation, in all kinds ofcorruption cases, corrupt practices, default cases of banks, DFIs, government departments and taxesevasions and utility defaultersas well. All the cases dealt by NAB were declared non bailable and punishmentsprescribed for various crimes included imprisonment, heavy fines anddisqualification from holding public offices and seeking loans from governmentsponsored financial institutions andconfiscation of property made through illegal means(Shaikh, 2010). General Musharraf’s agenda of accountability after few initial gains,became a tool of victimization againstpolitical opponents. NAB and intelligence agencies used blackmailing andharassing tactics to win support for king’s party after 2002 election (Samad, 2008). There are several types of corruption explained in literature like bureaucratic andpolitical corruption(M. Khan, 2001).
Moreover, other types of corruption are petty/administrative corruption, Grand corruption. It is also known that corruptionis country-specific; thus, approaches that apply common policies and tools(that is, one-size-fits-all approaches) to countries in which acts ofcorruption and the quality of governance vary widely are likely to fail. ifcorruption is about governance and governance is about the exercise of state power, then efforts to combat corruption demandstrong local leadership and ownership if they are to be successfuland sustainable(Shah , 2004). As NAB’s one of main function is accountability, it is alsoa way to reduce and combat corruption. Therefore, it is important to understandwhat basically drives towardscorruption in a particular country and these are; the rule of law is weakly embedded, institutions of accountability are ineffective, thecommitment of national leaders to combat corruption is weak and many more(Samad, 2008).
Following reasons can be reduced by theadministrative reform introduced by Musharraf in his era that is nationalaccountability bureau that increases accountability and reduces the chances ofcorruption hence also identified as anti-corruptionagenda (ACA). According to the study of IASISpaper, the NAB was tasked to investigate the abuse of power by thepoliticians. Not surprisingly, the NAB mainly directed its investigatory briefto nail down the offenders opposed to President Musharraf. Most notably,deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his coterie were subjected to scrutiny. Also, the long hand of theNAB was extended to the corruption that formerPrime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, were reputed to have indulged in(I. Ahmed).
On the other hand, notorious defaulters onbank loans in the pro-Musharraf camp were ignored. Over time, the NAB wassurrounded by controversies and theopposition kept up its criticism of the NAB’sperformance, terming it as a tool in the hands of the military rulersaiming to gain political advantagethrough it (Dawn, 12 January 2008). In 1999 Musharraf gained power in a dramaticway declaring emergency throughout the country. His National AccountabilityBureau (NAB) was very successful in harassing his political opponents.
The NABitself has claimed many victories in thefight against corruption. During his regime the military had full reins ofpolicy making. Several reforms have been proposed to transform inefficient bureaucracy and one of them is NAB-introduced in Musharraf’s era and is active part of Bureaucratic andadministrative unit of Pakistan because it is also included in bureaucratic policies and is one ofthem. Keeping in view the history and background of bureaucracy in Pakistan,NAB is playing its significant role in it.(Kalia, 2013). The comparativestudy and analysis made on critical evaluation of NAB- thenational accountability Bureau for Hongkong, Singapore, India and Pakistan inwhich the value of anti-corruption accountable agencies are discussed.
According to this study, Pakistan is thelowest scorer and its mechanism deviates from the identified patterns as ithas various anti-corruption laws,multiple anti-corruption agencies as well as an independent ACA, known as the’iron triangle’, between Japanese politicians, bureaucrats and the businesssector and was a major contributor in its economic boom. The NAB was created on the lines of ACAsof Hong Kong and Singapore. It has peculiar features that defy criminal procedure codes norms, such as shifting the onus ofproof on the accused and making the accused testify against himself. It stilloperates as an Anti-Corruption Authority, but with curtailed jurisdiction.The NAO and the NAB have jurisdiction that extends to the whole of Pakistan andoverrides all other corruption related laws and no court can grant bail to aperson accused of an offence by the NAB. Being a statutory body, the NAB has a very strong and independent legal setup(A. Ahmed &Ahmad, 2015). By virtue of law, the NAB has sufficientoperational and functional independence.
However, in practice, the NAB has notbeen free from political influence. After a Supreme Court Judgment, NAB nowcan only arrest someone after it hasprepared a case against him which provides enough prima facie evidence topresume the person likely to be guilty. It has been accused of being exploitedas a tool of political victimization. Various regimes have been trying tocurtail or replace the NAB and these pressures have made the NAB ‘sluggish.’However, against all odds, the NAB hasstill managed to recover Rs.247.331 and has on its credit prosecution ofpublic servants, politicians and senior military officials resulting inconviction(N. Ahmed, 2013).
NAB has an awareness and prevention wingengaged in eliminating corruption byimplementing preventive measures in public sector and by creating awareness inpublic, using media campaigns and educational programs. It also implements itsauthority, to call for contract copies and inspects mega public projects andcontracts, examines legal frameworks, procedures/ systems of Federal andProvincial-Government-departments/ministries/statutory/corporations/public-bodies(KHAWAJA). For effective accountability, the NAB ensures dissemination of adequateinformation regarding its functioning through publication of its annualreports and quarterly updates. Its official website also has a complaint mechanism, and the NAB under law has to provideanonymity to the informer. The NAB’sofficial website guides the ‘informers’ to provide information or evidencethat leads to investigation and prosecution of corruption or corrupt parties,bank loan defaults and write-offs, and help in recovering the looted publicmoney. (Sayeed, 2010). Recently, the issues against NABhave been highlighted in 2017 as thechairman of NAB is abroad and the case of ex- Prime minister is running.
Allthe decisions are now pending either on new chairman who will be appointedlater or wait for the chairman to come back. It might create issues on theworking of NAB and are showing few fissures in political class(Waseem, 2017).The comprehensiveeffort made by the National Accountability Bureau, Government of Pakistanto prepare National Anti-Corruption Strategy needs appreciation. But the question (Big one) is, does thegovernment has the political will and capacity to implement it(KHAWAJA). Given the Country’s history on corruption we need NAB as a permanent institutionby way of accountability as well as other Anti-Corruption Agencies like ACE& FIA in the Provinces by way ofaccountability to restore the people’s confidence(Qadir,2003). In light of the discussion, there are recommendations forthe NAB in Pakistan; NAB needs to draw an effective overall M and E framework which shouldencompass the organizational vision and mission should align the activities tothe desired outcomes.
NAB also needs to put in practice a rigorous system of evaluation to analyze the data regularly toevaluate its working. Despite sufficient operational and functionalindependence with excellent legal provisions to hold any public or institutionaccountable, the NAB has been unable to make a significant impact in the fightagainst corruption. It has successfully prosecutedsome senior public officials and corrupt citizens, but exoneration ofpoliticians, political workers and bureaucrats and acquittals in high profilepolitical corruption scandals has damaged its trust.
To be effective, NAB has to have public support for its effectiveness,and to gain that it has to achieveconvictions particularly in high profile cases(N.Ahmed, 2013). “THE NATION WANTS NAB TO PLAY ITS ROLE IN ERADICATION OFCORRUPTION AND CORRUPT PRACTICES”