Accountability wheel set in motion By Ansar Mahmood Bhatti
Perhaps for the first time in the history of Pakistan, the accountability process has been initiated against the all powerful politicians including business tycoons albeit it is not clear whether the concerned authorities shall be able to take this process to its logical end. The road to across the board accountability ostensibly is fraught with innumerable obstacles therefore the authorities doing this will have to come up with some extra-ordinary patience and skills and courage also in order to achieve this goal.
After Sharif family, the axe of accountability has fallen on Zardaris also because the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has found the former President of Pakistan and his family members guilty of siphoning off billions of rupees abroad through various fake accounts and carriers. In their public rally on December 27, on the occasion of death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto, both Asif Zardari and Bilawal Zardari lashed out at the government and the security establishment also for what they called the ‘selected accountability’, purpose of which, according to them was to bully the opposition parties. It was quite strange and intriguing to see both father and son speaking in favour of the Sharif family – a family who according to them had instituted false cases against them and even put them behind the bars for sins they actually never committed.
It is quite astonishing to see PPP leaders smitten with PML N and its leadership, though this goodwill gesture will not be of any help for them for the Sharif family itself is in hot waters therefore unable to come to their rescue. In fact both the leaderships are dying for a last straw, which in the given circumstances, seems a Herculean task. Cases against them are so strong that an escape seems difficult.
However, having said that, one has to admit that things can change overnight in Pakistan and it may happen in the cases of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari. The probe bodies are perhaps more interested in recovering the looted money rather than keeping these big-wigs behind the bars therefore as soon as a way out is found, these ‘most-wanted’ people may be allowed to fly to a destination of their own choosing.
And that is where the shoe actually pinches! The half-hearted and haphazard accountability processes have contributed greatly towards bad political and economic condition of the country. The only difference is that this time the powerful people have been taken to task nevertheless it all may prove a futile exercise if at the end of the day they are given a clean chit.
As regards across the board accountability, there is no second opinion that the society can only flourish and a country can only make advances in all fields provided the accountability process takes its course without any fear and favour. Undoubtedly, there are so many other people who have looted the national exchequer with the same spirit and ease and thus needed to be proceeded against. Corruption, according to an English writer Emma Duncan, has penetrated deep into Pakistani society and thus has become part of the system. So if corruption is removed from this system, the entire system may collapse.
It would be in the benefit of all if the ambit of accountability is expanded to others also including media, judiciary, military and especially those who are part of the incumbent government. Intellectual corruption is yet another monster that has weakened the very basis of the state and society. If things have come to such am embarrassing pass in Pakistan, pseudo intellectuals and sometimes genuine intellectuals are equally responsible for that. It reminds me of Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous quote from Canterbury Tales that, “if gold rusts; what shall iron do”.
Summing up, all those who have committed corruption and charges are proved must not be given any safe passage this time.
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