New NAB Chairman
Aftab Sultan has worked
under 4 prime ministers
as IB chief


ISLAMABAD: Former director-general of Intelligence Bureau Aftab Sultan has been appointed National Accountability Bureau chairman. His appointment was granted in today’s federal cabinet meeting.

It is learnt that the allied parties had opposed the suggestion to appoint Sultan as the NAB chairman. However, the PML-N held consultations and finally made the decision for his appointment.

Sultan has served as the IB-DG twice and has remained associated with the police department in senior posts as a grade-22 official.

Former director-general of Intelligence Bureau Aftab Sultan now appointed NAB Chief

A notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice stated: “The federal government is pleased to appoint Aftab Sultan, a retired BS-22 officer of Police Service of Pakistan, as chairman NAB after consultation between the leader of the House and the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, for a non-extendable period of three years with effect from the date he assumes the charge of his office.”

It added that the new NAB chief’s terms and conditions during his service would “be same as admissible to the judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan”.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah also tweeted about the high-profile appointment. The minister said the federal cabinet had approved Sultan’s nomination.

“He is a man of impeccable integrity having an impressive past record. We are hopeful that he will be able to steer the accountability drive without any partisanship,” the minister said.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the federal cabinet, the minister stated that the cabinet had approved Sultan’s appointment. Sanaullah said that Sultan’s credibility was “beyond doubt”.


The new NAB chairman is a law graduate from Punjab University, who later did LLM from the University of Cambridge and also MSc in jurisprudence/legal studies from the University of Edinburgh.

Former director-general of Intelligence Bureau Aftab Sultan now appointed NAB Chief

In 2002, as regional police officer in Sargodha, Sultan refused to assist the administration during the referendum called by then chief executive, retired General Pervez Musharraf. He paid for his defiance when he was made OSD.

He also prepared a 5,000-page report on the directives of the Supreme Court as additional inspector general of police about the famous Bank of Punjab case. The SC had appointed Sultan as the investigation officer after expressing dissatisfaction over the investigations conducted by NAB.

Sultan had retired as the IB head on April 3, 2018 after serving since June 7, 2013.

He served two governments each of the PPP and the PML-N under four prime ministers — Yousuf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The coveted post was lying vacant since last month after then-NAB chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, on June 2, relinquished charge of his office on expiry of the ordinance through which he was given an extension till the appointment of a new chairman.

The four-year-and-eight-month-long tenure of Iqbal — who was appointed as the anti-graft body’s chairman in 2017 — was one of the most controversial eras of the bureau.

Constitutionally, the term for NAB’s chairman is four years while Iqbal completed his term in October 2021, but the PTI promulgated the NAB amendment ordinance through which he was given an extension till the appointment of a new chairman of NAB.

However, the PTI government did not start the process of consultation with the opposition leader for the appointment of a new chairman.

Now, under the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill 2021, which was passed by a joint sitting of Parliament — the NAB chairman, who completes a four-year term, cannot be appointed to the post for a second tenure.

The bill has also reduced the four-year term of the NAB chairman and the bureau’s prosecutor-general to three years. The power to appoint the deputy chairman will rest with the federal government.