A Sasanian king, Shaharyar, being shocked to discover his brother and his own wife unfaithful to him, one after the other, executes them both. In his consequent bitterness and grief, he derives the conclusion that all women are the same. Shaharyar begins to marry a succession of virgins only to execute each one the next morning, before she has a chance to dishonour him. Eventually, the Vizir, whose duty it is to provide for them, is unable to find any more virgins for him. Shaharzad, the Vizir’s daughter, offers herself as the next bride although her father reluctantly agrees. On their wedding night, Shaharzad begins to narrate a tale to the king but does not conclude it. The curious king is thus compelled to postpone her execution in order to hear the ending. The next night, as soon as she finishes the tale, she only begins a new one, and the king, eager to hear the conclusion, postpones her execution once again. And same goes on for 1001 nights in turn and finally he grants her pardon and spares her life.
Abbasid Caliph, Harun al-Rashid, his Grand Vizir, Jafar al-Barmaki and the eminent poet Abu Nuwas, are mostly the major protagonists of the tales also called Alf Layla or Arabian Nights. The widely varying tales include historical tales, love stories, tragedies, comedies, poems, burlesques and other kinds. Numerous stories depict, jinns, ghosts, magicians, and legendary places, disclaimed but intermingled with real people and geography. Sometimes a character in Shaharzad’s tale will begin telling other characters a story of his own, and that story may have another fold within it, resulting in a richly layered but unending narrative texture. While in many cases a story is cut off with the hero in danger of losing his life or another kind of deep trouble but in all these cases it turns out that the king’s curiosity about complex socio-philosophical and technical sequel would buy her another day of life.
The above said thesis can fairly be traced to such tales that have come down to us even in the modern world today, carrying what we may call cliff-hangers in the adventures of elusive, thorny and troublesome pursuits firstly for collecting wealth and then protecting it in the mysterious off-shore caves guarded by financial jinns sharing passwords of “open sesame” .In today’s such tales, names of two hundred more financial giants including those of Donald Trump and few other politicians of Pakistan have come up on the scene leaked by the “dying virgins” of International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which may be considered as a series of modern Arabian Nights where we always chant slogans to shift the money from the “haves” to the “ have nots” including even those from the humanistic world.
Tales of current characters from all the corners, whether political or non-political, are daily born, rising day by day with ever growing modifications in the theme, frame tale. The stories are emerging from the plots to the sub-plots with continuously revising defenses to the effect that seven questions are put across by the Vizirs of opposition to “Sharazads” to prepare them how to prolong the tales without giving them any ending or entering into new stories one after the other in chain. Thus engaging any public detective or judicial king-organizations inhibiting them to reach any conclusion and like the King Shahayar, pulling them to the count of ‘one thousand and one nights’ and finally to seek pardon to come out of trouble or save life.
Probe into the off-shore companies is not rocket science. Where there is a will, there is a way. It is highly appreciated that the ruling party has presented itself for the accountability. The opposition parties should also surrender its suspects for the accountability without any delay to come up with clean hands against the ruling party. However, let the principles of natural justice be followed in letter and spirit in all the cases. First of them stands as that no one should be condemned unheard. Ruling and all the other delinquents must be provided an ample opportunity of being heard to plead their innocence. Legislature, judiciary and any of the independent departments of executive and media, if at all, as the organs of state have to give fair hearing to the delinquents. Let it be a fair trial sans any bias or prejudice.
The second of the principles of natural justice stands that no one should be a judge of his own cause. No one should dictate the terms and let there be no bias in any form. The ruling party has to listen to the genuine and logical voice of the judiciary, opposition, legal experts and the professionals regarding TORs. Probe shall have to be conducted by any of the independent departments wherein ruling party shall have no hand, interference or any influence.
There are three tales and three departments. Ali Baba, Chalis Chor; Sindbad, the Sailor and Aladin’s Tale are the three tales whereas Parliament, Federal Board of Revenue or National Accountability Bureau and the Judiciary are the three departments which can be amalgamated and edited into modern tales imparting wisdom and pleasant effects to the national spirit, ideals and the goals.
On a simple and inexpensive boat, National Accountability Bureau may sail to have voyages to the oceans and seas carrying wealth mines and caves to dig out the facts as to how the assets were accumulated by any public office holder beyond his sources of income, by misuse of authority providing direct or indirect benefit to one’s self or any of relatives, friends or anyone else accruing financial loss to the national exchequer or through cheating by public at large, loan defaults, money laundering or by any other corrupt practice falling within the provisions of National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.Federal Board of Revenue may look into the discrepancies between assets, the returns filed and the tax paid by the delinquents under “well reputed” clauses of 122(5) and 122(5)A of the Income Tax Ordinance frequently used to collect extraordinary taxes from all and sundry at every time of need. Both NAB and FBR may also look into any benami assets.Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. On both sides, although the Parliament is highly capable to trace the origins, knows the open secrets and can ask the questions to each other. How is an informer expected to become a witness when he himself is an accomplice and a partner in interest? You can’t have cake and eat it too. You have to share it by all means unless you are assured that one’s agony is going to pay you for good. Fact remains whether Parliament or any of its members, especially from the opposition, can assume the status of a Commission that too to score its ends.
Judicial Commission may have vast powers to look into the matter, call not an open but a specific list of delinquents under any set criteria, call and examine witnesses, appraise any circumstantial or documentary evidence and direct any investigative department to give its findings and then give recommendations. However, the fact remains that may the judiciary be shy of constituting any requested Commission and wash the linen of the politicians and become talk of the town under the pungent criticism by the petitioner(s), claimant(s) or the complainants at one hand and the accused both dissatisfied with the decision of such Commission in any case unless it is conferred special powers of recovery, fine, conviction and sentence etc as it has also been hinted by the Chief Justice. It may be done through any Presidential Ordinance.Commissions and investigations in Pakistan are nothing short of the ‘one thousand and one nights’ tale scheme narrated by jurists, detectives, experts and professionals to engage the real stakeholders.