Accountability or being accountable is a much cherished concept which everyone likes. It can be defined as the obligation of an individual or organisation to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. It also includes the responsibility for money or other entrusted property. All of us are convinced that people especially who are in power or have any other social responsibilities must be accountable for their use of power and funds they use. But it is also a fact that most of us want others to be accountable and want amenity for ourselves.

The word ‘accountability’ is rocking these days. People of Pakistan want their rulers to be accountable for all the misused powers and funds they have been using while are or were on some high profile job. It has been more than seven decades, Pakistan came into existence. In these years so many governments have been toppled due to the reason of the corruption and every government following the predecessor made big promises for full and fair accountability but nothing has ever happened, rather the later ones were found even bigger scandals of corruption than before. In these years, our country has never witnessed accountability in true sense. Hence due to lack of accountability corruption has gained deep roots in our society that it has become part and parcel of our life. It has also resulted in the loss of respect for political leaders amongst common masses. Secondly, our country has also indebted by foreign loans. Half of our annual budget goes in paying the interest money on these loans. The total population of Pakistan is almost 220 million out of which more than 40 percent live in deplorable condition. They neither have their two time meal nor do they have access to clean drinking water, electricity, gas, education and proper medical facilities. Pakistan has reached to level where accountability has become essential. It is the time that someone should take bold steps and make sure that full and fair accountability is done in Pakistan.

The newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken initiative and vowed to enforce ‘strict’ accountability. The common public is also determined to hold their rulers accountable. They like to see accountability done and corrupt leaders to get punishment and at the same time they wish to see the change in their lives as well.

Since the process of accountability has started many different voices are being heard. Those who are convicted in corruption or have the fear of conviction are terming the process as political vendetta. Some are of the view that the government should stop this process and other important issues must be looked into. Making the accountability process controversial is very unfortunate. This is the same old trick which was used in the past to stop or to create hurdles in such initiatives.

What is essential for this accountability derive is that it start from the top and secondly, no one should be spared if found guilty in corruption. Thirdly, NAB should work independently and there should be zero tolerance for any political intervention. Fourthly, the army and judiciary should also look into their own house and if there is any serving or retired person found guilty of corruption should be immediately taken to task. A full and fair and across the board accountability process is required to take this country ahead. Progress in Pakistan has already been hindered in a major way by accountability that has been non-existent and the corruption of the rulers.

The best way to satisfy the people of Pakistan is to recover the money from corrupt elites and use that money for the welfare of the people, to reduce poverty, in education and health sectors. It can also be used for the development of poor regions like interior of Sindh, Baluchistan, KPK and Gilgit Baltistan , as these regions have been neglected in the past , then it will be so much beneficial for the unity of Pakistan as people of these regions have been so much mislead by their own corrupt national leaders who have used their grievances but themselves involved in mega corruption. The history of Pakistan is one of corruption and dishonesty by its leaders but let’s hope that time has come for a change and our next generations can feel proud to be citizens of a country where there is true accountability and corruption free society. Where there is a will there is a way!

 

The author is based in Lahore.