It seems like the Prime Minister is finally feeling the heat as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) directs its attention towards Punjab. The opposition has had a field day after the PM himself warned the NAB to act responsibly or be prepared to get their powers curtailed. According to him, NAB officials have been misusing their authority to harass ‘honest’ government employees by barging into their houses and workplaces without substantial evidence, accusing them of foul play.

While this may or may not be true, NAB has been cracking down on those involved in corrupt practices in Sindh and KP, so the question remains that why should Punjab be treated any differently? The ruling party sat complacent while the opposition, PPP and MQM, screamed murder in Sindh. To ensure transparency and equality, it must now sit tight and let NAB do its job, in order to prove that it is truly committed to shed its image of a corrupt status quo political party. Sitting on national television and declaring war against the very department that is responsible for ensuring transparency is the last thing that the Premier should be doing, not to mention how bad it is for PR.

Many have been implying that the investigation into the pet projects of the PML-N government like the LNG deal, Metro Bus, Orange Train and LDA City, has not gone down too well with the PM. Criticism for these projects are not a new phenomena as the government is more than used to ignoring dissent. The only difference between before and now is that the NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry is not exactly in the good graces of the ruling party. One man’s principled stance makes all the difference, and it is time PML-N shows up in court instead of hiding behind stay orders as it has been doing for years on pending corruption cases.

NAB has been condemned for far too long for colluding with the perpetrators of fraud and allowing corruption to carry on unabashedly under its watch. The Rawalpindi NAB has arrested 69 people on corruption charges and filed 48 references. The conviction rate was 78pc and the amount recovered stood at Rs 1.44 billion. This progress – however small – and their willingness to take serious action should be encouraged at this point in time instead of berated. If the PM is as innocent as he has insisted throughout his three tenures then he should have no problems airing out his laundry. If not, then that is an entirely different matter.