ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz(PML-N), which was ardent supporter of making the accountability mechanism in the country independent and powerful, has belated initiated the process of taking input from the legal experts and political stakeholders on reformation of the National Accountability Bureau(NAB), the move seen with suspicion by many.

Background interviews and interaction with some of the parliamentarians, who remained part of the exercise of long deliberations on the subject both within and outside the Parliament have expressed their astonishment as to why the ruling PML-N was engaged in getting input on the matter now when it was almost finalised with a few points of disagreement between the then PPP-led government and the then main opposition PML-N over introduction of new accountability mechanism in place.

A parliamentarian who remained part of the deliberations of then National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice on replacing National Accountability Bureau(NAB) with a more powerful and vibrant accountability commission said that both PPP and PML-N had agreed to all points and there were only a few disagreements between the two on the financial autonomy and powers of the new accountability apparatus which could not be resolved and the proposed piece of legislation had lapsed with the culmination of the National Assembly term.

He further said that almost half of the five years term of the government has completed and now the ruling PML-N had initiated to have input of legal minds on bringing some new accountability mechanism to replace the incumbent National Accountability Bureau which had failed to deliver on containing the growing corruption in the country the point Supreme Court of Pakistan had mentioned several a times while taking up the issues relating to NAB and its pending cases.

Pakistan People’s Party soon after coming into power had decided to disband National Accountability Bureau but as it came into existence as an act of Parliament the PPP government with thin majority could not do legislation on it. However, on the persuasion of the then opposition led by PML-N the matter was placed before the National Assembly and then referred to the standing committee on law and justice and could not be tabled before the house for legislation due to differences between the treasury and opposition benches on a few key issues of granting it economic and administrative authority.

The chairperson of the then National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice, Begum Naseem Akhtar alleged that both PPP and ruling PML-N did not want to see powerful accountability mechanism in place as both the parties were stuffed with corrupt people.

When asked she said that they had several dozen meetings specifically on the matter and except a few things rest of the draft bill for National Accountability Commission(NAC) were finalised and it was beyond comprehension why ruling PML-N was re-initiating deliberation on it because they simply should take input of stakeholders on controversial points to evolve consensus on it. Otherwise they could get it through from Lower House of the Parliament on it on its own.

She alleged that both PPP and PML-N were the real hurdle in the way of bringing a powerful accountability mechanism in place for obvious reasons as both the parties were filled with corrupt people and that was the reason avoid tuff accountability filters.

She recalled that during PPP government when she was chairperson of standing committee on law and justice the then President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari was pressing her to make corruption bail-able offense under the new accountability law which she had resisted at that time to the annoyance of the party leadership.

She said that right now with a few points of discord the lapsed draft bill of National Accountability Commission was final in all respects and need not any review or spruce up. The government should put the new accountability mechanism in place in a shortest possible time but doubt the sincerity of the main parliamentary parties sitting on both treasury and opposition benches for obvious reasons.