It is widely believed that NAB is a political entity that has nothing got to do with fighting corruption. It is evident from their failure to contain corruption but rather corruption has increased since NAB was formed in 1999. On the other hand, NAB has successfully impacted politics to help kings party win elections on many occasions. The entity has become even more political after the new chairman took charge of it in 2017. NAB impacted the results of general elections of 2018 by many of its decisions, statements, and actions. Now the by-elections too may follow the same trend. It seems that PTI has been the beneficiary of political actions of NAB. After Imran Khan assumed the office of PM the Chairman NAB paid him a visit. Many in the opposition believe this was to ensure his own job security.
Nineteen years is a long time for an autonomous entity that got full support from establishment to eradicate corruption. Autonomy of an entity does not mean the parliament cannot question it. On the contrary, all autonomous entities have to be supervised by the parliament to ensure they deliver on their mandate. It is about time Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the parliament summon the Chairman NAB and ask him to submit a detailed report about the effectiveness of his department to fight corruption; the amount spent on running the entity as compared to the amount recovered by them; and how many cases of corruption have been successfully prosecuted by them. It is also concerning that the three functions of NAB, the investigative, prosecution, and adjudicative are not independent but rather influenced. A few days ago, media reported that Irfan Mangi from investigation met with judges of NAB which is entirely inappropriate. PAC should do a thorough re-evaluation on NAB to see if it is worth keeping in its present state or should it be modified to ensure better functionality and improved performance.
There is no doubt that white collar crimes committed by anyone should be investigated and prosecuted by an autonomous agency. FIA is the most appropriate entity to assume this responsibility. PAC, if they find NAB an inefficient entity, should merge it with FIA and strengthen the white collar crime division.
Many people in the opposition are Questioning PM Imran Khan on social media for using NAB for political victimization. Some factions within the political landscape believe he has nothing in his control and the NAB is doing whatever is already decided.
It would not be wrong to assume that any criticism of NAB will be considered support for the corrupt. In a polarized society that operates in black or white, this is a normal attitude.
At times PM Imran Khan still acts as though he is still the leader of the opposition, at least that is what some analysts and politicians believe. His attitude that everyone is corrupt except his own team is creating lot of resentment. Media and political rivals believe that Imran Khan protects his own close political allies, while making claims of “fighting corruption without bias”. So far not a single person has been punished that was pointed to him by party members to be engaged in corrupt practices. If PTI is serious about fighting corruption then they should create an environment which allows free and fair trials without the interference of government or the PM. Let the concerned institutions perform their duties to ensure justice for all.
Many people forget that Metros in almost all countries are run in a loss state because they are meant to provide affordable transportation to middle and lower middle class. The savings in imported fuel is one argument in favor of running metros. If metros are not a feasible option, then why has PTI allowed it to be developed in Peshawar and why has no one questioned almost 250% rise in its cost and it is not even finished yet.
PM Imran Khan should not encourage street protests or push opposition to take to the streets. This is exactly what he used to claim at the time of his dharnas that the ruling party had forced him to take to the streets. PTI must try and work with the opposition parties and consider them part of the democratic team which is supposed to work for the interest of the people and the country. This positive attitude will allow the confidence of the people to be restored in the political system and help our country to move forward. It’s time to reduce the stress and state on tension in the country and encourage positive vibes to flow within the society… that would be the real change and a “Naya Pakistan”.
By Abdul Qayyum Khan Kundi