The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is coming under attack from all corners for its overbearing practices. After its wings were clipped by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government in an attempt to reel back the unchecked activity of the body, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) also slammed the body’s practices in the harshest terms possible. It announced on Thursday that several sections of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 were against the norms of Shariah and described them as offence against “human dignity”.

The biggest and most obvious offence against legal principles remains the NAB’s practice of putting the burden of proving one’s innocence on the accused, contrary to the foundational legal principle of “innocent until proven guilty”. The CII observed that beyond legal principles, this practice was an affront against Islamic principles too, since a man is assumed to be “born innocent” under Islamic Law. It is a puzzling why these provisions haven’t been challenged in the judiciary, which is supposed to be the guardian of legal principles – it fell to the CII to point out the inherent injustice in the National Accountability Ordinance 1999, for which it must be commended.

Similarly, the practice of arresting but not officially charging a person, and the media parade of individuals in handcuffs before a crime has been proven, have all been declared to be infringing against human dignity – a fact that the public has known and has been decrying for years.

How NAB conducts its so-called accountability is less about the law and more about humiliation and coercion – a fact proven by the long list of politicians who have been released for lack of evidence despite high-profile arrests and media fanfare. More than restricting its jurisdiction – as the PTI has done – its practices need to be restricted across the board to make it fairer.

The NAB has ignored the law and the people for so long; perhaps it will pay more heed to the Shariah.