The refusal by the prime minister to appoint Tariq Khosa at the head of a team to probe the Bank of Punjab scandal revives an ongoing tussle over the fate of the officer. Previously, the Supreme Court had ordered that Khosa be reappointed to his post as director-general FIA after the government had made him chief of the narcotics control division. This order was not implemented.
The matter revives the question of the powers of various institutions. The prime minister’s office holds that it is the prerogative of the chief executive of the state to make such appointments. There is a degree of logic in this. The functions of different units in the state need to be defined to prevent a descent into chaos, much of this is laid out within the constitution. It is imperative that this document be referred to and followed rather than causing conflict. Confrontation of any kind, even the constant bickering we now see, followed by media speculation that often blows matters out of proportion, does more harm than good. It prevents the rolling along of the system on smooth tracks that we need if we are to make any headway in reaching a destination that offers stability and good governance. The regular episodes of discord will leave us stranded somewhere along the rocky road.
Having said that, the Bank of Punjab scam is a big one. Many key names have begun to figure, including the former rulers of the Punjab. There is a strong possibility that the former president of the bank will name more people as the case proceeds. It is important the matter be investigated by honest officials. It is the duty of the government to ensure this as a step towards tackling the corruption that eats away at the State and destroys sectors within it. Matters of ego must not get in the way of this basic task.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 12th, 2010.
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