The menace of corruption continues to hold stronger grounds with time. The recently unearthed involvement of politicians and celebrities in ‘hidden’ investments in offshore companies has raised alarms all over. Heads of the state or government have rendered themselves accountable to their people. Nawaz Sharif, PM of Pakistan, too have placed himself for accountability before his nation. This rare opportunity of holding accountable

But how exactly is accountability done? If law is the answer then a lot more questions need to be addressed.

Unfortunately, the anti-corruption laws of Pakistan are enforced very selectively and with political impulse. The laws of the land, such as centuries old inherited Pakistan Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 later complemented by Electoral Bodies Disqualification Orders, and in the modern times the National Accountability Ordinance. The laws are there but lack the strength to fight the modern offences and more so that they are not adequately implemented rather abused by the ones in power and authority.

In another move to prevent corruption and to enforce the anti-corruption legislation, investigative authorities such as Federal Investigation Agency, National Accountability Bureau and Anti-Corruption Establishments were constituted. These agencies, beside other investigative agencies, exist at federal as well as provincial level. The purpose of the agencies is basically in regard to fighting corruption is subdued as there exist no definition of corruption. This allows the empowered to manipulate the meaning and sense of the word in either way.

Unfortunately, despite considerable efforts as evident by the lengthy trail of development of law and establishment of authorities and agencies, the problem persists with much more strength and influence. The recent ‘allegations’ brought up by Panama Papers are evidence enough to prove that as of today corruption has held firm grounds and is so deep-rooted that its control alone is challenging rest aside its elimination. It would be hard, in fact quite impractical, to probe the Leaks as there exist no law that can cater to this new dimension of corruption. Probably there is absence of law by which Pakistan can request for information sharing from the countries where Pakistani ‘leaders’ have offshore companies.

Had the legislation been strong and vigorous – not self-protective and politically motivated – and the establishments firm and solid – independent and free form political interference – PM Sharif would not have had to request the judiciary to probe the matter. Judiciary is not to investigate but to adjudge upon law and facts. Even the judiciary is handicapped by the weak law that favors the political elites and the biased and false investigative reports of the agencies. This does not mark the inefficiencies and incompetency of either of the legislation or agencies rather it’s the legislators and political interference and abusive tactics that render the law and the institutions vulnerable.

Coming to the ppposition – especially Imran Khan – ‘considering’ no other available has opted to go the other way by launching a ‘drive’ (meaning another rally) against corruption. It’s a legal and fundamental right of every citizen of freedom of assembly but exploitative and abusive use of the same is questionable. The way the opposition tries to deal with the matter is more of a coercive measure rather than a corrective option. It creates more lawlessness and irregularities in the society then any betterment. Opposition comes from a very idealistic approach to revolutionize the country ignoring the fact that such compulsive drives have only rendered the situation more averse.

A question that must haunt the authorities is that these things come in to motion on reports and leaks of a third party. In the case of Axact, the law and law enforcement agencies came to motion after a New York Times report was published by investigative journalist Declan Walsh. Same is the case here. The Panama Papers/Leaks is a set of 11.5 million leaked documents detailing information for more than 214,000 offshore companies associated with the Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider, Mossack Fonseca. After the leaks were published the law enforcement agencies are on a roll to probe the matter in the absence of adequate laws. They are unaware themselves of these crimes and issues and it raises questions over their efficiency. If they are silent it raises the concern of political influence over the institutions and their lack of independence.

Though the ‘leaders’ have surrendered themselves for accountability, they have literally made a mockery at the legislation and judiciary.