Being reduced to a political tool
With a second bail approved in tandem with severe criticism by a high court of NAB’s investigation tactics, questionable findings and general approach to enquiries the graft body is left licking its wounds and filing appeal after appeal. While the senior Sharif was granted bail in one case he awaits the same result in another reference where the basis for incarceration is as flimsy as in the previous one. Last week the younger Sharif was also granted bail and according to the LHC’s verdict in both cases against him it turns out NAB did not accuse Shehbaz of graft in either one. The fashion in which the opposition leader in the National Assembly was arrested – nothing in comparison the airport fiasco on Nawaz and his daughter Maryam’s return – where he was summoned in relation to one case and arrested in another coupled with NAB’s track record thus far, it was obvious that the charges would not stick. Not soon after Shahbaz’s was placed on the ECL. Perhaps fresh charges will be filed against him in the coming weeks.
Yet arrests of this nature and the graft body’s high handedness continue unabated. CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah is justified in criticizing the raid at Speaker Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani’s house after he was arrested from a hotel in Islamabad a few days back. In such a setting one cannot blame the opposition for continuously blaming the ruling party for using the accountability watchdog as a tool for political victimization. Granted, that their own Aleem Khan was also arrested by the same institution, the gross imbalance in number of arrests and treatment is quite apparent especially with the likes of Pervez Khattak still sitting pretty. Apart from politicians this modus operandi has also been implemented against businessmen and bureaucrats leading to a slowdown in investment and functioning of the government with little and less being signed off out of fear of persecution/prosecution by NAB later. NAB needs to be reined in and the only way to achieve that is the government and opposition reaching some consensus to introduce a new law. These days however they are at each other’s throats, ironically owing largely to the same institution they ought to be reforming.