The words “National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is a public organisation carrying out across-the-board and transparent accountability to steer and guide the nation out of the abyss of corruption” resonate when the headlines on our televisions read that the Supreme Court (SC) has ordered to de-notify four Director Generals (DGs) of NAB. The fired DGs will get pensions on a regular basis, but it is positive that the SC has finally forced NAB to implement some change within its ranks.

These include DG Lahore Bhurhan Ali, DG Quetta Tariq Mehmood, DG Karachi Shabbir Ahmed and DG Awareness and Prevention Aliya Rashid. This is nothing we haven’t seen before; old officers occupy lucrative posts because of being favourites of someone at the top, or because they are being rewarded for something. In this case, their terms expired years ago and they can only be appointed as acting DGs twice, but they continue to serve. How will NAB be able to crosscheck transparency in other institutions when the body itself is wracked with problems of transparency?

This case was brought to the Senate last year as well by Senator Saeed Ghani. At that time, new DGs were appointed, but it was only a move to deceive the parliament. The acting DGs were enjoying full privileges of a DG. Such acts create redundancy within the institution and its credibility becomes questionable. The apex court passed an order against these appointments last year. They instructed NAB to cancel postings, transfers and appointments to ensure that eligible candidates could be hired after proper scrutiny.

What would be the best way for our institutions to prove that they are a part of the flawed system than by not fulfilling court orders? This is precisely what happened. What they fail to understand is that bureaucratic positions cannot be filled based on personal preferences and it is definitely not a favour that they can grant to someone. The people appointed at these posts have very important roles to perform and should be selected accordingly.

The court has asked all four seats to be filled within the next four months, whereas, a committee has been formed to look into the remaining appointments of officers in the bureau. However, it is heart-wrenching to be witnessing acts of disloyalty to the state every other day. Institutions that are meant to serve and ensure the smooth functioning of the system exploit the power in their hands and treat it like their personal property. How long will we be correcting their acts, let alone moving towards issues that actually demand our attention?