ISLAMABAD - The outgoing year was the year of accountability – mostly of corrupt politicians and senior civil servants. Yet, the anti-graft body National Accountability Bureau (NAB) dismally failed to make any significant recovery of the allegedly looted money.

The entire effort was based on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s national narrative to make Pakistan corruption-free. Consequently, it led to political turmoil that created mistrust between the PTI-led ruling alliance and the main opposition parties. As a result, there was no significant legislation done by the parliament. On the face of it, the government kept its claims to improve governance and put the national economy in the right direction.

On the other hand, every opposition leader, who raised his/her voice against what they termed the “selected” government’s clumsy performance, on the governance and economic fronts was hounded by the NAB.

Resultantly, the NAB’s biggest catch of the year was the politicians, rather overwhelmingly of the opposition type. In a related development, the opposition parties convened All Parties Conference (APC) under the chairmanship of JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Islamabad to charter a joint political action. Despite reasonably good attendance, the APC remained divided on agreeing on a political roadmap, mostly out of the PML-N and PPP backdoor engagements ostensibly to seek some concessions.

Consequently, Maulana was left alone to stage his party’s weeks-long sit-in in Islamabad, but without any tangible gain. He had assembled his party workers to force Prime Minister Imran Khan to step down and announce fresh general elections. What gains he had made out of his political protest remains a mystery.

On the other hand, most of the PML-N and the PPP’s top leaders in the custody of NAB were released on bail by the end of the year. Except, three high profile cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, not a single one could reach its logical conclusion, one way or the other. Currently, the entire Sharif family except for Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz is abroad with Nawaz Sharif on medical bail accompanied by PML-N President and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif as his medical attendants.

In the cases against PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, and his sister Faryal Talpur, NAB is yet to submit the necessary challan. Both are now out on bail.

And it was in the last week of the outgoing year that the accountability process received its biggest jolt when the Lahore High Court (LHC) granted bail to Rana Sanaullah, the PML-N Punjab’s chief, who was arrested in July this year on drug smuggling charges.

Another PML-N leader, Miftah Ismail, was also bailed out at the same time. Prime Minister Imran Khan seems adamant to budge even an inch from his party’s narrative of the war against corruption. How he is going to continue with it is yet to be seen.

Also, the ruling alliance led by his party is carrying out necessary legislation through Presidential Ordinances. The opposition parties remain divided in charting out any concrete political road map, and there seems to be a remote prospect of main opposition parties the PML-N and PPP agreeing to stand up together in the near future. Goodbye to 2019.