Accountability sans credibility

The making and unmaking of accountability laws is a matter of routine in our country. Yet, those who make and unmake these laws remain dissatisfied with them and their application, whether they are in power or in the opposition.
Before assuming office, Imran Khan made promises of good governance, accountability, justice and fair play but then, despite having absolute support from the establishment and apex accountability organisations, he summed up his accountability narrative as a failed agenda. In fact, he stayed away from this responsibility himself and targeted only a few select political leaders. We can recall Imran Khan’s rhetoric for dispensation of across the board accountability but that proved to be a ruse to deceive the masses for political gain. Later, the PTI government did some somersaults in the accountability arena because the narrative that was built around elimination of corruption and the provision of good governance had paid no dividends. Besides, the government had lost its luster and the party was not as promising as it used to be in early years in power.
PTI’s promises for accountability and good governance were not new for people above 40 years of age but these promises were new to the youth who fell into Imran Khan’s political pitfalls of justice. The older people knew and had witnessed all major political parties using such rhetoric to attract the masses. In reality however, no government had taken serious measures for the elimination of corruption from the society. PML N, in its 2013 campaign, churned out a number of slogans against corruption and promised to root out this stigma from the society. After assuming the charge of prime minister office, Nawaz Sharif issued a statement aimed at elimination of corruption, “My government is corruption-free and has not been tainted with a single scandal of financial bungling as transparency in all projects is its hall-mark.” A few years later however, he made the remark, “There is so much corruption in the country that if we get involved in proving them, all our time will be consumed in the investigations and we will not be able to deliver. There are so many scandals and frauds that they cannot even be listed.”
Now it seems as though the same situation will repeat itself but with different maneuvers. Corruption, as we all know, is not a secret in our society. We all experience this scourge in our everyday life and in every part of the society. Despite all rhetoric, the fiber of a corrupt society cannot be changed until governments, at the federal and provincial level, go all out for it. If the PM and chief ministers gather extensive information on corruption through agencies and don’t take the steps to catch culprits, a green signal for corrupt practices is given out. Thus, we can predict that like previous governments, this government will also lack the courage to curb corrupt practices.
Unfortunately, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) also proved to be a fiasco. Every now and then, it comes out with banners and flash lights to convince people of its performance but we know that since its inception, not much has changed. Public Accounts Committee, its sub-committees, parliamentary committees, ministries and departments referred corruption cases to the NAB and FIA and even after three to eight years, investigations have not been completed. If they failed to move the NAB and FIA to play an active role, then there is little that the common man can do for justice in the country.
It is pertinent to mention here that in 2013, PM Nawaz Sharif addressed a letter to all ministers, federal secretaries and heads of departments directing them to get rid of corrupt and dishonest officials and ensure transparency and rule of law. He also directed that he should be kept informed on the progress, in this context, on a monthly basis. Even in his first address to the cabinet, he stated that corruption would not be tolerated at any cost but there was no mentionable achievement on this front. Slowly, the slogan of accountability has lost its charm and people are no more interested in such political gimmicks.
During his years in power, former PM Imran Khan and his cabinet did nothing to provide honest leadership at lower, middle and higher tiers of administration and his government was far from achieving the targets he had set forth. His statement that he could not fight against corruption alone and society had to take part to fight against this menace was quite understandable and denoted that corruption was to be used as political gimmicks and it had nothing to do with justice in reality. As a matter of fact, anybody who has ample money remains untouchable in this country.
People now cannot expect that the government will come out of its insensitive shell and do something for them. Justice, as we know, succumbs to those who have a say in the system or can pay in the system.
Under the previous scenario, where enforcement of law, rules and regulations was a far dream, though like other things supremacy of law was also a promised dream of the government.
Today again people look forward to their dreams and aspirations attached to a new set of government. If their hopes are not taken care of once more and the government practices promise breaking and self-indulgence, it will experience an extreme jolt, later if not the sooner.

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