It turns out that the massive Defence Housing Authority Lahore scam that has implicated former COAS, Ashfaq Kayani’s brother – Kamran Kayani – has not been acted on at all. The National Accountability Bureau has already requested for the Interior Ministry to issue a red warrant in Kamran Kayani’s name, the main accused, but this request has yet to be responded to. Without a red warrant, Interpol cannot be asked to bring the suspect in. The Interior Ministry has also neglected to outline the reasons for its inaction, which gives the public no choice but to formulate conclusions of its own.

Whether it is plain indifference or fear of coercion, the Interior Ministry has no excuse to not pursue this case. Indifference in a case in which Mr Kayani has a liability of Rs 4 billion is unforgivable, especially when the co-accused, Hammad Arshad has been in custody since January 2016. Almost a year and a half later, all other conspirators are in custody, yet the process to bring Kamran Kayani back to the country has not even begun.

If it is not indifference, another plausible explanation for the government’s perceived disinterest could be an attempt to avoid causing problems and let fractures between the civil-military relationship develop. However, fearing an institutional backlash because the case might implicate the brother of a former army chief is not sensible. If the government and regulatory bodies keep fearing powerful institutions, there will be no increase in transparency or accountability in the country. Mega scams such as this one and many others like it will continue to pop up if their perpetrators continue to walk free, or at the very least, leave the country if they want to retain their freedom. There are over 11000 complainants in this case, all who have been cheated out of hard earned money because of the alleged embezzlement carried out in this scam. Is the government really going to ignore this large a number?

There is still hope for the Interior Ministry to fix its mistakes. Issuing a red warrant, contacting Interpol and demanding that the suspect be arrested and extradited to Pakistan needs to be the next step going forward. There is no link between former COAS Ashfaq Kayani and the crimes of his brother. The government should not equate the two together in any case. A year and a half of inaction can be rectified if the government makes a move, but only if it finally gets going on the inevitably slow process to bring an absconder back to the country.