Every state has the capacity to govern itself. There are few in the world that collapsed wanting in capacity. Perhaps, Pakistan is the only country that despite international sanctions, bad governance and rampant corruption not only survived relentless forays but also glittered in patches of brilliance. This is despite the fact that Constitution of Pakistan lays down Principles of Policy in Articles 29 (1) and 30 (1). During this telling period when Parts 1 and 2 of the Constitution have been completely ignored, the nation has braved all odds against its internal fabric. Unfortunately, Pakistan continues to face de-capacitation by its own in a methodical manner, smoked in the slogan of saving democracy from the establishment. Over a period of time, most institutions that were meant to safeguard these principles are politicised and compromised. Rather than perform their mandates, these institutions led by the choicest please their masters.

This incremental incursion into the management of the state defies logic and reason. The irony is that these dispensations were popped up by actors who perch on a high moral pedestal ended with crows where eagles dare. A decade hence, the damage National Reconciliation Ordinance has caused shall take many decades to reverse. Its Architects and guarantors included a president under siege, a Chief of Army Staff and foreign powers. Common sense has it that USA the most celebrated presidential democracy pursued it for civilian control over military, Britain, the bastion of parliamentary democracy for its experience in the Asian Pivot and KSA to ensure that its most blue eyed boy did not get a raw deal. The leaders drafted to lead the country in the 21st century were involved in financial corruption and crime. This carte noir is tantamount to getting two wrongs to make a right. This never happens.

Despite the fact that NRO violated constitutional and legal bounds; that it condoned criminality and that it reconciled the thugs, nobody challenged it. The two governments it produced carry the strains of immorality with shameless abandon. The ruling government and main segments of the opposition are eggs from the same basket. Politicians of every description with stakes in businesses and indulgence in criminality benefitted from it. Once Gen Musharraf resigned, his political coterie of advisors and legal experts dispersed and debouched into different political parties carrying with them the genes of immoral reconciliation. NRO 1 and 2 set in motion a political culture that was conceived in the womb of dishonesty, selfish interests and expediency. This corrupt demeanor continues to satisfy the ends of self-aggrandisement in cash and kind. Ethical and moral onuses so endeared in western democracies are conspicuously absent. It comes as no surprise that after six decades of independence, the law makers suddenly realised they have inadequate laws to check corruption. The custodians of law despite the power they accrue seem either helpless or complicit. Each day dawns with a new incident of misdemeanor that would bring governments crashing in western democracies.

Within the past week, the ministry of finance has fudged with budgetary figures to project a false prosperity. The sit-ins of para medics and farmers in Punjab are in contrast to growth figures of the Economic Survey. The country does not know what ails its chief executive. A military at war against terrorism; a government hell bent on covering its tracks on Panama Papers; a country under a US drone strike and a parliament into a budgetary session has no effective prime minister for weeks. Such was the haste in passing the 18th amendment that a babu’s omission ended up depriving a nuclear powered state a clear cut hierarchy of succession. Apart from the Pandora’s Box that the 18th amendment opened and aberrations it created, the absence of a law of succession for a country possessing nuclear weapons in a hostile zone is indifference at its best. What else could one expect from politicians who earn and spend in dollars?

What does the Chief Justice of Pakistan mean when he says publically that laws in Pakistan are over legislated? If he is hinting at the TORs of Panama Papers, what stops him and the apex court to take notice of such criminality? After all the court is equipped and competent to bring into force every law, rule, regulation and SRO that exists on the typology of corruption. Under the doctrine of necessity it has the power to act as surrogate of the people and pass judgements in national interests in case gaps exist in laws. Moreover a judicial precedence exists where a serving prime minister was punished and removed from office. Where does the apex court stand on the Principles of Policy?

Now that Panama Papers have exposed hundreds of individuals, what holds the Election Commission of Pakistan back for taking action against individuals perched in high offices but guilty of wrong declarations in their nomination papers? Why is ECP refraining from starting an inquiry at its own and summoning heads of regulatory, oversight and transparency organisations for having failed to indicate such criminal acts?

Why can’t National Accountability Bureau show some spine and act on special laws that empower it. No other organization in the country has the powers of investigative custody like NAB. According to Section 4 of NAO, the NAB applicability extends to all public servants and citizens. Once placed in juxtaposition with Section 9, a combined reading leads to an irresistible conclusion that none are excluded. If the intention of the legislature was to exclude, then such exclusion ought to have been like serving persons of the Armed Forces who have criminal liability under the Army.

What stops NAB from investigating corrupt individuals and owners of offshore companies who violated the orders of the State Bank of Pakistan? Why can’t NAB summon the officials of the State Bank of Pakistan and Security and Exchange Commission, whose job was to ensure implementation of laws and directives? The NAB is going soft on the prime minister and individuals who set up offshore companies, businesses and accounts in violation of the State Bank of Pakistan F.E. Circular No. 12 dated September 01, 2001.

Amidst all this drama, where is the State Bank of Pakistan, a constitutionally autonomous body that acts as a regulator and watchdog. The above mentioned circular on ‘Investment abroad by residents of Pakistan’ leaves no ambiguity about what is legal and what is not. Why is it hesitating in sending references against these individuals to NAB, ECP and criminal courts under the NAP?

There is plenty that can be done provided there is a willingness to do so. The Supreme Court of Pakistan and NAB should lead the charge against the corrupt individuals and officials of organisations whose silence is tantamount to abetting. Only then would the capacity of the state to govern itself begin growing.