Chickens are not the brightest of birds and the loss of their heads sometimes does not appear to impair their ability to run around. The soon-to-retire Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, seems determined to go out with a bang rather than a whimper, and has swung the axe once again. The Supreme Court (SC) on November 22 ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to register cases against a number of senior bureaucrats alleged to be involved in the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam. Simultaneously, the SC has also issued directives that a case be initiated against the sitting NAB Chairman, Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, over his involvement in the NICL case, and head and chicken swiftly parted company. Further and apropos the NICL case, the NAB chairman was found guilty of being involved in the appointment of the NICL chairman on account of it being “non-transparent, illegal and unwarranted”. Another chicken joins the headless cohort.
Those involved in the appointment of the NICL chairman may be dealt with under Section 9 (a)(vi) of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999, which would appear to make the retention of the job by the current post holder completely untenable. Mr Qamar Zaman can hardly file a case against himself. The court added to Mr Zaman’s woes by finding that he created hurdles in the way of investigation of the NICL case and consequently laid contempt charges against him. Whilst on the one hand it is desirable that the courts seek to curb corruption, on the other, if they chop the head off the agency that has to do the investigating on account of its own chief being hand in glove with one or more offenders, then matters quickly descend into farce. It is now reported that Mr Zaman has decided to opt for ‘indefinite leave’ as of November 22 and there will be any number of ‘influentials’ who will be happy to see him go as his departure will bring to a shuddering halt investigations into the OGRA scam and the RPP scandals. Headless, the mighty NAB chicken wanders hither and thither, whilst the corrupt laugh as they count their winnings.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2013.
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