As the world reeled from the news of the vicious attack in Christchurch, another loss of life hit much closer at home. Retired brigadier Asad Munir – a former army officer, government functionary and respected defence analyst – took his own life in his apartment in Islamabad in the early hours of the morning. The untimely departure of such an affable and accomplished individual prompted an outpouring of grief from the country’s politicians and civil society members who knew him best. His opinions will be sorely missed in the pages of newspapers and inside the corridors of power.

What would drive an individual like this to such a drastic act? Over the course of the past few days, a suicide note purportedly written by him emerged on social media; the contents of which painted a grim picture and pointed directly to the forces that were to be held responsible. As the family members of Mr Asad Munir have confirmed the authenticity of the note, it falls to the rest of us to unpack its contents.

The retired brigadier, against whom the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was conducting multiple inquiries, had allegedly written in the note that “I am committing suicide to avoid humiliation, being handcuffed and paraded in front of the media.” He bemoaned the unprofessional and thuggish attitude of the NAB officials who had made his life “miserable”. In harrowing words the note stated: “I request you, the honourable Chief Justice, to take notice of NAB’s officials conduct so that other government officials are not convicted for the crimes they had not committed.”

This, along with the rest of the note, is a damning indictment of the NAB and its methods. What is more, no one can say that they were surprised by what the note had alleged. The NAB’s practice of parading suspects in humiliating fashion has drawn criticism before; in recent political cases, the body seemed more interested in assassinating the dignity and character of an accused than actually trying the crimes that had been alleged. Deaths in NAB custody, refusal to let the government’s human rights body inspect its holding cells, and a consistent failure to present even a semblance of a well-researched case in court on multiple occasions cast a further pall on the actions of this institution – whose chairman favours flowery declamations in front of cameras above quiet professionalism.

These offences demand an answer, and action by the government – this was not an isolated incident, let us ensure it is the last.