In yet another sermon, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani wants to start an accountability drive, where corruption allegations must be pursued against all accused- including politicians, military and the civil bureaucracy. Rabbani called out on the double standards regarding accountability and highlighted the need to have only one set of laws for both politicians and the rest. The only way this would work out is if the parliament was made supreme above all institutions – creating coordination among various state institutions.

Pakistan has a parliamentary system, and it is unfortunate that we have to hear a demand for parliamentary supremacy when it should be a given. The parliament is the sole body that makes laws, and the sole body that can censure the executive. If the parliamentarians, including the senator, feel that this is not so, it should be corrected with better performance of the Senate and National Assembly itself. The way that bills are debated and hurriedly passed, sometimes without even a quorum present, is shameful. Needed legislation, like that of the Hindu Marriage Act gets tabled, while draconic measures like the Cybercrime Bill fly past.

Rabbani has become the most vocal proponent for fair play in parliament. Rabbani’s remarks came a day after the National Accountability Bureau opened two new inquiries against his fellow Pakistan People’s Party compatriot and former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. He said, “Double standards about accountability must be shunned. There are not two sets of laws, one special and harsh for politicians and the other normal and soft for the rest.” And then, in true PPP fashion of old, he called for diluting the strength of urban and rural elite in favour of the middle class in politics.

Most importantly he disagreed with the proposal that the National Security Council should be reconstituted as a suprabody of the parliament. He called out military governments for floating this terrible idea antithetical to the fundamentals of democracy. If with wasn’t for such opposition (weak as it is), the ruling party would slowly and unknowingly give up the whole system to the military, as happened at the time of the establishment of military courts after the APS attack.