On the heels of the arrest of Ahad Khan Cheema and the subsequent ‘civil-servant rebellion’, the PML-N has decided to appeal to the federal government to stem the stinging onslaught of NAB’s probing by curtailing its role and discretionary powers.

It seems that the PML-N and their loyalists are going to great lengths to bend the bureaucratic process to glean some respite from the volatility in its regime. While PML-Ns surreptitious move, orchestrated in the absence of the opposition, has no legal bearing and is more of an official censure of the anti-graft body, it highlights the party’s stoicism in defending the actions of its prominent affiliates without allowing for the due trial process.

Where Ahad Cheema’s incarceration and it logistics have been cause for much debate, the PA’s response to it has further shrouded the proceedings in suspicion. Government servants are barred from taking part in active politics or being a member of any political party, thus such political affiliations being flaunted in this manner, with intent to overturn government departments from doing their jobs, is a call for concern. In similar vein, Rana Sanaullah, implicitly encouraging the rebelling PAS officers is also problematic given his own governments recent stance against doctors protesting against the lack of service structure. Likewise, the validity of the PAs resolution to curtail NABs power loses much of its bearing when the body only sees fit to raise an objection when their own comrade is in the line of fire. Where the plea bargain and voluntary return clause are gaping potholes in the ordinance, the PA’s posturing in pushing the clauses to strengthen their argument against the bureau stands to be a hollow and politically expedient move in this particular instance.

Where the current climate of judicial activism does draw concern over the issue of separation of powers of the legislative-judicial-executive nexus, restricting the bureau to its “constitutional ambit” on the grounds of impinging human dignity, strays into mimicking the Sindh ‘Anti-NAB Bill’ fiasco where the provincial body tried to curtail NAB’s jurisdiction. As in the latter case, any move to amend NAB’s power at this juncture where the PML-N and its affiliates are in the hot seat will only play into the oppositions voluminous narrative that the PA’s agenda only seeks to cover up its own tracks. Imran Khan is already associating the hastily passed resolution as an admission of guilt and the complicit role of PML-N leaders in corrupting the civil bureaucracy and conspiring against NAB and the Supreme Court.

While the party dynamics and political prowess may remain unchanged PML-N should be wary of playing right into the narrative heaped against it, all in a hasty bid to play the victim card.