NAB submits, loses public confidence

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IN a queer development, NAB (National Accountability Bureau) issued a statement on Wednesday declaring that it respects views of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and inherited weaknesses and flaws would be removed in line with the directions of the Prime Minister. The statement comes a day after the chief executive of the country issued a warning to the Bureau to stay within limits or face the consequences.
Like public comments of the Prime Minister, the formal statement of NAB is also unusual and conveys an impression that process of accountability is a just a farce and nothing else. This is because it is unimaginable in a civilised society that head of the Government would hurl open threats to an accountability institution and in return the institution submits itself in such a brazen manner. There can be no two opinions that the Prime Minister is elected and his views and opinion carry weight and must be given due consideration by all. However, the issue of working of NAB is a quite different thing and neither the Prime Minister was supposed to attack the institution nor the Bureau was required to issue a clarification, which clearly indicates it is submitting to the pressure of the Government. Under these circumstances, it is quite obvious that NAB would fast lose confidence of the masses as a neutral body to check corruption in the society. This latest development also hints at the possibility that the Bureau would not pick up courage to take cognisance of corruption amongst governmental circles. If the incumbent government is spared of the accountability process then it is understood that future governments too would be immune to the exercise. This would then mean creation of more and more classes of untouchables as far as the process of accountability is concerned and slogans about across the board accountability would become mere illusions. There are also reports of a proposal that a commission would be set up and NAB would investigate only those cases of corruption that are cleared by the said commission. This selective accountability exercise is totally unacceptable and instead of clipping NAB powers, it should be granted more independence, administratively and financially.