What
is public management? And what is public governance? While most people will immediately
assume that they have a general grasp of what public management entails, fewer will have a feel for
what is meant by public governance. Public
management is an approach which uses managerial techniques to increase the
value for money achieved by public services (Bovaird & Löffler, 2009). Trying to define public governance seems to open
Pandora’s box. Whereas in NPM a lot
of attention was paid to the measurement of results (both individual and
organizational) in terms of outputs, public governance pays a lot of attention
to how different organizations interact in order to achieve a higher level of desired
results – the outcomes achieved by citizens and stakeholders. Moreover, in
public governance, the way in which decisions are reached – the processes by
which different stakeholders interact – are also seen to have a major
importance 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’ by
injecting business like methods. Its more focus is on performance management (Pollitt & Bouckaert, 2011).

More
than a decade has passed since the publication of Christopher Hood’s
influential 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 the
nature of the discipline – in theory and in practice (Osborne, 2006). NPM has actually been a transitory
stage in the evolution from traditional PA to what is here called the New Public Governance (NPG). The
geographic 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 explore
the internal processes and workings of the NPM. The theoretical roots of NPM are from management studies while roots o
NPG are from sociology and network theory (Osborne, 2010). NPM was about intra-organizational
management 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 of
public services as compared to management and administration in which the rule
of law, responsiveness, efficiency
and effectiveness and lastly the
main character of accountability is
involved.

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Pakistan is a relatively young country, established in the
year 1947 by gaining independence
from British occupied Indian subcontinent. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has
been regarded as a parliamentary democracy, constituent of the President as the
ceremonial head of state and the Prime Minister as the head of government. In
the current multi-party system, the
government exercises executive power; legislative power is largely entrusted to
the Parliament (S.
Ahmed & Khwaja, 2013). Unfortunately, after the death of Jinnah, political polarization and strife led
to 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 power
through unconstitutional means and justified the impositions of military rule
on various pretexts of economic growth and political stability. Out of more
than 60 years of Pakistan’s history, more than 30 years are plagued by marshal
law i.e. military rule. Thus, the quality of democracy suffered
immeasurable losses. A dominant theme of General Pervez Musharraf’s tenure as Pakistan’s ruler has been the
need for good governance. This is to be achieved both by the process of accountability and the introduction of
structural administrative reforms,
which will replace the ‘sham’ parliamentary democracy of the past decade with a
grass roots ‘real’ democracy(Talbot, 2002).

Despite
a long history of reforms, recent reforms
were operationalized in 2001 under a new economic policy called the Poverty
Reduction Program (PRP) designed to facilitate the New Public Management (NPM)
influenced transformation.  The
overarching objectives of these reforms were to strengthen the market and
public sector simultaneously and so that they complemented each other(Iqbal, 2014). The government of Pakistan has introduced
numerous administrative reforms but
for the sake of convenience and keeping in view the relevancy of reforms. This
essay is focusing on reform of Musharraf’s era, ‘the establishment of National
Accountability Bureau(J. Khan & Wazir, 2011)’.

General Pervez Musharraf came to power with
promises of reforming Pakistani politics and ushering in true democracy. By
early 2001 Musharraf’s Pakistan was
smarting under international apathy as well as sanctions for its undemocratic
rule. Musharraf had established National
Accountability Bureau (NAB) on November 16, 1999, with the express aim of
ensuring across-the-board accountability vide an ordinance. NAB came in
handy for arm-twisting politicians
to join the King’s party, the PML-Q. By March 2000, the NAB had prepared a list
of 109 parliamentarians and charged
them with mis-declaration of assets or financial impropriety. They included
prominent leaders of PML-N and PPP, i.e., Begum Abida Husain, Raza Yousif
Gilani, Humayun Akhtar and Iftikar Gillani and Aftab Ahmed Sherpao(Behuria, 2009). 

As per its mandate NAB was to initiate the
accountability process from January 1, 1985. NAB was authorized to carryout investigation, in all kinds of
corruption cases, corrupt practices, default cases of banks, DFIs, government departments and taxes
evasions and utility defaulters
as well. All the cases dealt by NAB were declared non bailable and punishments
prescribed for various crimes included imprisonment, heavy fines and
disqualification from holding public offices and seeking loans from government
sponsored financial institutions and
confiscation of property made through illegal means(Shaikh, 2010). General Musharraf’s agenda of accountability after few initial gains,
became a tool of victimization against
political opponents. NAB and intelligence agencies used blackmailing and
harassing tactics to win support for king’s party after 2002 election (Samad, 2008). There are several types of corruption explained in literature like bureaucratic and
political corruption(M. Khan, 2001).

Moreover, other types of corruption are petty/
administrative corruption, Grand corruption. It is also known that corruption
is country-specific; thus, approaches that apply common policies and tools
(that is, one-size-fits-all approaches) to countries in which acts of
corruption and the quality of governance vary widely are likely to fail. if
corruption is about governance and governance is about the exercise of state power, then efforts to combat corruption demand
strong local leadership and ownership if they are to be successful
and sustainable(Shah &
Schacter, 2004). As NAB’s one of main function is accountability, it is also
a way to reduce and combat corruption. Therefore, it is important to understand
what basically drives towards
corruption in a particular country and these are; the rule of law is weakly embedded, institutions of accountability are ineffective, the
commitment of national leaders to combat corruption is weak and many more(Samad, 2008).

Following reasons can be reduced by the
administrative reform introduced by Musharraf in his era that is national
accountability bureau that increases accountability and reduces the chances of
corruption hence also identified as anti-corruption
agenda (ACA). According to the study of IASIS
paper, the NAB was tasked to investigate the abuse of power by the
politicians. Not surprisingly, the NAB mainly directed its investigatory brief
to 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 the
NAB was extended to the corruption that former
Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, were reputed to have indulged in(I. Ahmed). On the other hand, notorious defaulters on
bank loans in the pro-Musharraf camp were ignored. Over time, the NAB was
surrounded by controversies and the
opposition kept up its criticism of the NAB’s
performance, terming it as a tool in the hands of the military rulers
aiming to gain political advantage
through it (Dawn, 12 January 2008).

In 1999 Musharraf gained power in a dramatic
way declaring emergency throughout the country. His National Accountability
Bureau (NAB) was very successful in harassing his political opponents. The NAB
itself has claimed many victories in the
fight against corruption. During his regime the military had full reins of
policy 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 and
administrative unit of Pakistan because it is also included in bureaucratic policies and is one of
them. Keeping in view the history and background of bureaucracy in Pakistan,
NAB is playing its significant role in it.(Kalia, 2013).

The comparative
study and analysis made on critical evaluation of NAB- the
national accountability Bureau for Hongkong, Singapore, India and Pakistan in
which the value of anti-corruption accountable agencies are discussed.
According to this study, Pakistan is the
lowest scorer and its mechanism deviates from the identified patterns as it
has 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 business
sector and was a major contributor in its economic boom. The NAB was created on the lines of ACAs
of Hong Kong and Singapore. It has peculiar features that defy criminal procedure codes norms, such as shifting the onus of
proof on the accused and making the accused testify against himself. It still
operates as an Anti-Corruption Authority, but with curtailed jurisdiction.
The NAO and the NAB have jurisdiction that extends to the whole of Pakistan and
overrides all other corruption related laws and no court can grant bail to a
person 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 sufficient
operational and functional independence.
However, in practice, the NAB has not
been free from political influence. After a Supreme Court Judgment, NAB now
can only arrest someone after it has
prepared a case against him which provides enough prima facie evidence to
presume the person likely to be guilty. It has been accused of being exploited
as a tool of political victimization. Various regimes have been trying to
curtail or replace the NAB and these pressures have made the NAB ‘sluggish.’
However, against all odds, the NAB has
still managed to recover Rs.247.331 and has on its credit prosecution of
public servants, politicians and senior military officials resulting in
conviction(N. Ahmed, 2013). NAB has an awareness and prevention wing
engaged in eliminating corruption by
implementing preventive measures in public sector and by creating awareness in
public, using media campaigns and educational programs. It also implements its
authority, to call for contract copies and inspects mega public projects and
contracts, examines legal frameworks, procedures/ systems of Federal and
Provincial-Government-departments/ministries/statutory/corporations/public-bodies
(KHAWAJA).

For effective accountability, the NAB ensures dissemination of adequate
information regarding its functioning through publication of its annual
reports and quarterly updates. Its official website also has a complaint mechanism, and the NAB under law has to provide
anonymity to the informer. The NAB’s
official website guides the ‘informers’ to provide information or evidence
that leads to investigation and prosecution of corruption or corrupt parties,
bank loan defaults and write-offs, and help in recovering the looted public
money. (Sayeed, 2010). Recently, the issues against NAB
have been highlighted in 2017 as the
chairman of NAB is abroad and the case of ex- Prime minister is running. All
the decisions are now pending either on new chairman who will be appointed
later or wait for the chairman to come back. It might create issues on the
working of NAB and are showing few fissures in political class(Waseem, 2017).

The comprehensive
effort made by the National Accountability Bureau, Government of Pakistan
to prepare National Anti-Corruption Strategy needs appreciation. But the question (Big one) is, does the
government has the political will and capacity to implement it(KHAWAJA). Given the Country’s history on corruption we need NAB as a permanent institution
by way of accountability as well as other Anti-Corruption Agencies like ACE
& FIA in the Provinces by way of
accountability to restore the people’s confidence(Qadir,
2003). In light of the discussion, there are recommendations for
the NAB in Pakistan; NAB needs to draw an effective overall M and E framework which should
encompass the organizational vision and mission should align the activities to
the desired outcomes. NAB also needs to put in practice a rigorous system of evaluation to analyze the data regularly to
evaluate its working. Despite sufficient operational and functional
independence with excellent legal provisions to hold any public or institution
accountable, the NAB has been unable to make a significant impact in the fight
against corruption. It has successfully prosecuted
some senior public officials and corrupt citizens, but exoneration of
politicians, political workers and bureaucrats and acquittals in high profile
political 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 achieve
convictions particularly in high profile cases(N.
Ahmed, 2013).

“THE NATION WANTS NAB TO PLAY ITS ROLE IN ERADICATION OF
CORRUPTION AND CORRUPT PRACTICES”