A recent indictment by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) inspires little confidence in the institution. On Friday, former director general of the Fata Disaster Management Authority Arshad Khan was accused of embezzling around Rs 50.9 million from payments of compensation for damaged properties to the conflict-affected people in Mohmand Agency. Even with the accused gallantly deciding to stand trial, it will be a wonder if this case ever escapes the clutches of political interference.

Judge Mohammad Ibrahim Khan has fixed the next hearing into the case for February 17 and has summoned two prosecution witnesses to appear before him on that date. It is claimed that Khan, the accused was arrested in April of last year, when an inquiry found him in connivance with other people, he managed to embezzle millions of rupees from the compensation payments meant for those affected by acts of terrorism in Mohmand Agency. The NAB, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has verified list of 122 bogus conflict victims and forwarded it to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority for processing. These people in question however have not been traced.

It is expected that in the present case, the NAB would file a supplementary charge-sheet to include in it charges related to embezzlement in relation to conflict victims of Bajaur Agency. However, given their tainted track record, will this case also be lost in the pile of unsolved anonymities or simply be hushed up? In the case, apart from Arshad Khan, some other suspects were also arrested-entering into plea bargain with the NAB.

Justice Jawwad Khawaja has minced no words and said there was “lawlessness” in NAB, and, even though it had a budget running into billons of rupees, its performance was not worth a penny of it. Even with such instances of highlighting culprits, these cases remain futile if no justice prevails. Many of their cases are over a decade old, yet are listed as “inquiry under progress”. The history of pursuing corruption cases in Pakistan is a chequered one mainly because of the repeated compromises struck between parties on account of political interference, the selective nature of the allegations, and political motivations behind many of the charges.