Sham accountability

The honourable bench of the apex court had already expressed its reservations over many of its lenient clauses

September 19, 2022

Accountability is a Trojan horse in Pakistan. The process and conduct is more self-explanatory than having a firm writ of law. Shady cases, political musing and absence of rule of law have rendered even genuine cases of corruption a sham decorum. So is the case as under the newly-amended accountability laws, the courts went by the book and shunted out references by sending them back for necessary departmental action. It is said justice delayed is justice denied, and here in this case the hope for a genuine prosecution and retribution under the law stands buried for reasons of political exigency.

In a swift twist, almost all the pending cases against the ruling dispensation, involving an amount less than Rs500 million, were closed citing the new legislation. This certainly does not bring the curtain down on the charge-sheet nor on the merit of the case, but it certainly comes as a sigh of relief to the accused. This is where the travesty of law comes under the debate, and will keep the accused as well as the prosecuting arms on tenterhooks, until and unless the cases are heard and decided on merit. Thus, as of today, corruption cases such as Ramzan Sugar Mills against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza, and ex-PMs Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and many others. This confirms the perception that accountability of the corrupt elite is next to impossible in the republic of 220 million that reels under poverty and an unjust distribution of resources.

The new anti-graft law is under the hammer at the Supreme Court. The honourable bench of the apex court had already expressed its reservations over many of its lenient clauses, especially those that come to infringe justice and a fair prosecution. The legislation that almost ridicules the barometer of accountability, and comes with self-erected benchmarks to ignore misuse of public money, is definitely questionable. Similarly, the slow pace of litigation is worrisome and derails the hope of cases seeing the light of the day. Time to rise above pretty self-interests to uphold law and retribution in their right spirit.


Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2022.

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