Calling out the corrupt

NAB's failure to deter corruption has added to our continuing difficulties in battling the corruption


Editorial July 08, 2015
NAB has submitted a report in SC on 150 mega scams which includes cases against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, former president Asif Ali Zardari and top politicians and bureaucrats of the country. PHOTO: REUTERS

After a long delay, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has handed over to the Supreme Court a report on 150 cases dating back to 2000, the time the authority was created under the Musharraf administration. A three-member Supreme Court bench had sought the report sometime back, taking note of the long delay in moving forward with the cases. This delay is in many ways a denial of justice. Many of the cases mentioned in the report date back to over a decade and a half, going to show the extent of the laxity shown by the authorities in pursuing them.

The names included in the report comprise some of the top politicians of our times, including Prime Minister Nawaz and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, as well as former president Asif Ali Zardari. Other politicians who have flitted through our nation’s affairs figure on the list too, including former prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, as well as Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, among others. Many of these names appearing in the report cause no surprise and it is quite possible that at least some of the cases may have been politically motivated. However, the point to be made and made strongly is that when NAB was set up, its primary purpose, as stated at the time, was to deter corruption. But deterrence can only be established if justice is delivered, the due process of law followed, and penalties awarded where guilt is determined. This has not happened over a very long period of time, essentially defeating the purpose behind establishing NAB. In addition, the fact that many originally accused got away by paying out money in plea bargain arrangements also sends out a mixed message. It suggests that it is possible to get away with corruption by later paying back some of the amount that was misappropriated. A stronger message was needed. NAB failed to deliver it, as the Supreme Court has noted, and this adds to our continuing difficulties in battling the corruption, which has over the years wreaked so much havoc in our country and threatens to wreak even more in the future.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2015.

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COMMENTS (5)

Taimur Javed | 5 years ago | Reply @H Chaudhry: Nawaz Sharif (Lion of Pakistan) remained outside Pakistan for most of the those 9 years and the cases were not pursued.
H Chaudhry | 6 years ago | Reply Since most of these are already discarded by some cort, double jeopardy will come in to play. Regardless, if there is solid evidence down with the culprits but if there is no evidence time to clear the names. In 9 long years of Mush, nothing could be found against Sharif's so this sudden jump is nothing but pure activism as Sabi said. Again will look forward to establishing proper evidence and rationale. Soemthing that couldnt be done in 9 years under General, probably wont happen now either and die its own slow death.
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