An honorable Justice of Supreme Court gave the following remarks in a case of plea bargain, the previous day. “According to the act of Plea Bargain, if a person has the allegation of the corruption of rupees 100 million, he can be set free after paying only rupees 10 million. Then that person is re-appointed on the same post. He again indulges in the corruption of 200 million. What type of act is it? If NAB works in this way, it should be closed then.” These remarks are before me and I am thinking that these comments are about the law and performance of NAB. They express public opinion and emotions. I have reviewed the data of NAB which was presented during the period of 2008-2015 regarding the plea bargain in this piece of writing. It will be better to understand the clauses of the law of NAB in this regard before

discussing this data.

The National Accountability Ordinance 1999,providesa legal covering to plea bargain for taking back the money that was corrupted. Under the clause of 25 A the principle of voluntary return has been mentioned. According to this principle a person who has been appointed on a government designation or any other person, presents himself before NAB and requests that he will return the money that he has earned illegally and is regarded as a crime under this law. He makes this appeal before the permission of any investigation against him. Acceptance means after the estimation and collection of the amount by NAB, the particular person can be declared free from the charge in this matter. This exemption is also present in the law that this solution can only be possible if this case is not adjourned in any court. The 25-B clause of this Act explains the procedure of plea bargain. According to it, if the investigations against the accused are allowed but he offers NAB the money of corruption and the benefits obtained by it, at any stage of the case then it is the privilege of Chairman NAB that he can accept this offer with favorable conditions. In such condition, if the accused agrees to return the amount, Chairman NAB will send the case to the court for approval and release of accused. According to the 36 pages data provided by NAB on website from Jan 2008 – 30 June 2015 plea bargain has been done in 418 cases. Ignoring the fact that plea bargain is a suitable procedure or not, it is important to mention that according to the figures of seven and a half years, this average is almost more than one case per week. A better performance is being expected from an institution which is established to arrest the accused of corruption and deception. It is quite important to note that among these 418 cases more than 40% (179) are those cases in which less than 10 lac has to be received. In easy words, they were the cases of trivial nature. Comparatively a little amount was demanded through plea bargain. It can be certified in this way that 50 cases out of 179 are those in which only 5000 Rs have been demanded for 1 lac. I think that there should be the complete accountability of the corruption whether it is major or minor. However, NAB wasn’t established to settle such cases. In the remaining cases 84 are those in which the amount of plea bargain is 1 million to 2.5 million only. If we consider the number of the cases in which the amount of plea bargain is less than 2.5 million, it is only two third of the cases(63% ). In the data of 2008-2015, the cases can be categorize on the basis of the amount of plea bargain.

It is interesting to note that the accused have taken advantage more than anyone else in the cases in which the amount of plea bargain is more than one billion. For example, in a case the real amount was 2 billion but the amount of plea bargain was only 880 million. In another case the amount was 8 billion but was decided in 14 million. In spite of that a very little amount was demanded in plea bargain, yet in 5 out of 6 cases the amount which should be recovered up to 30 June 2015 has not received. All cases belong to 2008, 2009 and 2012 except one. The question is what is the moral ground of plea bargain? Hasn’t it encouraged the corruption? Firstly rob and then return a part of it. Then find a safe side. In my opinion, immediate change is needed in this law.

This review of NAB’s performance shows that it is overlooking the real corruption. The rich and the poor are treated differently in the law of Pakistan. Whenever NAB starts any campaign against political dignitaries, they raise a storm. They should complete its investigation date wise. Some cases are investigated very soon but some remain close. Similarly in plea bargain somewhere deals generously but somewhere takes revenge. This attitude should be checked. NAB should abide by the rules of the country.

The writer is a Senator and Ameer

of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

This review of NAB’s performance shows

that it is overlooking the real corruption.

The rich and the poor are treated differently in the law of Pakistan.