A new phase of Accountability

Hassan Ahmad
Aftermath, of final report of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) submitted to Supreme Court, chaos in Pakistan’s politics is ongoing. JIT has filed its final report to honorable Supreme Court regarding Panama scam. After, the submission of final report, a blame game was started from governments officials and opposition. PML-N that is ruling the country, has raised several allegations regarding biasness of Joint investigation team. When this JIT was formed by Supreme Court, the representatives of PML-N were happy that they had carried the day. At that time, opposition especially, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was reluctant due to Joint investigation team. At that time, PTI had grave concerns that JIT cannot investigate properly in the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. They had the agenda that Prime Minister should step down from its designation, so an investigation team can promptly examine the Panama scam. Gradually, when JIT started its work, the situation was entirely changed. PTI that had grave concerns at forming of Joint Investigation Team, it started the campaign that government is meddling with affairs of JIT. The representatives of PML-N changed its stance with the passage of time that JIT is biased.

Currently, there is chaos condition in country. A few days ago, Joint Investigation Team submitted its final report regarding Panama scandal. It is very startling condition in country now, because the officials of government have started a blame game on institutions of country. They are attacking Establishment and Supreme Court indirectly. Every leader of PML-N has played its part in blemishing the institutions. The speech of Nehal Hashmi was very gruesome because he has targeted the institution. Fortunately, Supreme Court took an immediate notice speech of Nehal Hashmi. Now he has been indicted. Other officials of government are also indulged their self in tarnishing the positive image of Supreme institutions.

Now a day, mayhem in country is overwhelming. Institution are being blamed that they are interfering in government’s matters. Pakistan Army, ISI, Supreme Court are the prestigious institutions of country, these have maintained the existence of Pakistan. But, unfortunately, these are being hit again and again by representatives of government. If there is any allegation against any institution, a proper investigation should be held. Accountability should be for all institution rather than they are Supreme institutions.
The practice of hurling allegations and counter allegations has become a hallmark of Pakistani politics. Top leadership of mainstream political parties never gets tired of accusing its opponents of corruption with or without documentary proof. It is a part of this political maneuvering that every politician tries to portray himself as the true savior of the nation and his/her opponent as the worst enemy of the country. But during the last 70 years, Pakistan has failed to have a proper check and balance system while verbal fights among political rivals are still going on.

This shows that political immaturity is rampant in the country while the choice for the masses is limited. Despite facing charges of corruption in their previous tenures, the PML-N and Pakistan People’s Party remain the only choice for the masses while the PTI is still in the evolution phase. Despite making tall claims, the PTI has failed to achieve any significant success in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where corruption scams as well as cases of bad governance are still surfacing. Overall, there is a trail of corruption cases that continue to appear during successive regimes, yet no ruler has picked up courage to formulate an effective strategy for the elimination of this curse as the process of accountability could not take roots in the country due to involvement of bigwigs in mega scams. The institutions set up to deal with this malaise have so far failed to yield desired results. They allegedly work under the whims of incumbent rulers instead of following the merit of a case. Any drive against corruption was either launched for political victimization or to settle scores with opponents. It is a fact that institutions tasked with accountability have been accused of following a ‘pick-and-choose’ policy. Reports clearly suggest that cases were not pursued or a deeper probe was dropped at the behest of high-ups.

Unless and until some notable big names from all segments who are proved guilty of corruption are put behind bars, no one will be convinced of the partisan role of institutions. Another aspect of accountability in Pakistan is the absence of across-the-board action. There are certain powerful institutions whose personnel remain unscathed. The concept that only civilians commit corruption while those holding office in the military establishment and the judiciary are angels is neither reasonable nor should it accepted without question. An accountability drive should also be launched against those corrupt persons who belong to the so-called ‘powerful’ institutions. Real accountability can be achieved through an impartial action against all those who are found involved in corrupt practices without any discrimination. Government needs to devise a mechanism to respond to all allegations of corruption in the framework of transparency and law.