Review process of accountability

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THE Supreme Court (SC) on Monday observed that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seems reluctant in proceeding against people on one side of the political divide even in respect of financial scams of massive proportion while those on the other side are being arrested and incarcerated for months and years. In detailed judgement on grant of bails to Khawaja brothers in Paragon Housing corruption reference, the apex court said that one-sided accountability is aimed at teaching a lesson to the opponents, adding this is the dignity of man and one of the grave consequences of pre-arrest confinement, is the humiliation and disgrace resulting from such arrest, for not only the accused but also his family and persons attached to him.
What the two honourable judges of the apex court pointed out in their detailed verdict has, off and on, been highlighted by other judges and courts as well as neutral observers, politicians and national media but the judgement is more vocal and must be given due consideration by all stakeholders and the process should lead to some tangible outcome on the issue of reforming the accountability process. There is overwhelming impression that opposition politicians and those affiliated with opposition parties in any way are rounded up on manipulated cases and the court has also pointed out that in Paragon Housing scheme a civil deal has been turned into a corruption reference. It is because of weak cases that hardly any conviction takes place but individuals concerned are harmed massively. There are clear instances like those of sugar and wheat scandals where corruption references should have been filed and pursued on the basis of undeniable and reliable evidence produced by the Commissions concerned but NAB either closed its eyes to the scandals or adopted the policy of go slow. In sharp contrast, opposition leaders are arrested in dramatic manner without solid evidence and in many cases no reference was filed on charges against which the individuals were arrested. It is because of the highly flawed process of accountability that there have been voices from both the opposition and the treasury benches about the need for amending the accountability law but unfortunately no progress is made on the issue due to lack of required vision and far-sight. The vicious circle would continue until and unless political expediencies are set aside and decisions are made on merit.

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