Whither accountability?


The recent abrupt, though not unprecedented, removal of accountability court’s judges allegedly via WhatsApp notification reflects PTI government’s utter disregard for a transparent accountability system in the country. “I have just received a Whatsapp message, the Lahore High Court has repatriated me. I cannot lend my expertise to this case anymore,” Judge Masood Arshad said as he excused himself from hearing case of PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah over drug possession.
Though the ministry of Law and Justice refutes the allegations of its involvement in the matter and has claimed that proper procedure was followed in this regard, the speculations of manoeuvring the judiciary by PTI government for vested political interests speak louder. There is no denying the fact that in the past Judges expressed biases in provision of justices and have been in league with political parties to victimise their opponents in the name of accountability and rule of law. Judges’ own misconduct has harmed their reputation to a great extent thus inflicting a stigma upon the whole judicial system.
Ironically the political parties who have always been chanting slogans of transparent accountability system and rule of law, never allowed the Judges to impart justice independently. They have now become victims of the system they never wanted to flourish. PTI earned reputation for its untiring struggle for ‘INSAF’ (justice), which confirmed its victory in 2018 General Elections, but lack of across the board accountability has dented its fame and has dragged it into a paradoxical situation where it stands exposed by its own misadventures against judicial system. It is high time to learn that if the tendency to pressurise judges and the courts is not checked, consequences will be grave.