- Punishing the corrupt or maligning the political class?
The National Assembly sitting on Thursday was adjourned after opposition members protesting the arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani raised a ruckus in the House. They questioned the humiliating way the Sindh Assembly Speaker was “dragged and forcibly shoved into a vehicle” as Leader of the Opposition Khurshid Shah put it, calling the treatment “condemnable, shameful and insult of this Parliament”. He pointed out that while there are many leaders facing references, it was only the Sindh Assembly Speaker who was arrested in a humiliating way.
Uneasy questions are being raised on the way the accountability process is being conducted. Two parties, the PML-N and PPP, are presently the main target of NAB.
But will accountability remain confined to these only? PTI leader Aleem Khan is already in NAB’s custody. Rumors are rife about the Choudharis of Gujrat also to be soon summoned by NAB. On the accountability body’s backburner are enquiries about several PTI bigwigs that can be activated whenever a need is felt.
What is the real purpose of accountability? To punish the corrupt politicians or to malign and vilify the political class as a whole by painting all with the same brush?
If the NAB is serious about punishing the corrupt it should collect actionable evidence, build a strong case and get the accused punished. The NAB prefers to arrest the politicians before collecting evidence and prepares weak cases. It initiates then a media trial against those arrested.
Months before his retirement former CJ Saqib Nisar put the rhetorical question, “Is everybody except NAB a thief?” He also said that NAB begins disrespecting people after it receives a single application.
How come NAB chief could make the farcical allegation that several billion dollars of remittances were sent by Nawaz Sharif from Pakistan to India as a part of a massive money-laundering scheme? The allegation was immediately rejected by World Bank. That a baseless news was used without confirmation to disgrace a national leader reveals that naming and shaming was more important than prosecuting.
This leads to the uneasy question whether there is a plan behind what is going on in the name accountability?