The past few months have seen a flurry of activity as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) opens up anti-corruption investigative proceedings against several high profile individuals, including the Chaudhry brothers and Sharjeel Memon.
There is an increasing awareness about how state functionaries are involved in perpetuating corrupt practices and the impact this is having on disenfranchising the ordinary Pakistani. Holding the elite accountable has always been an elusive dream. However, the new NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal seems determined to recover the money plundered from the national exchequer by bureaucrats and politicians.
A lot of questions are being raised about whether NAB’s ever-widening net of cases will be brought to a meaningful conclusion and be able to recover the looted wealth. We asked several influential personalities from the legal fraternity to comment on the issue.
Raja Amir Abbas, Former NAB prosecutor
“NAB is doing a good job but at the same time they need to focus more on resolving the four cases of mega corruption that are already in the courts. We will be at a loss if, in the process of opening all these new additional chapters in corruption, they lose sight of the main cases at hand. The whole country is looking towards the resolution of these four cases for justice. In fact, the continuity and health of our justice system depends upon how well these cases are handled and brought to a meaningful conclusion. NAB’s work has not ended yet on this front and the poor man will never look towards the courts for justice if these cases end up on the back burner of history.”
Shahzad Akbar, Former NAB prosecutor
“We will see in the next few weeks to what extent the recent press statements of the past few days will be acted upon. A new leadership in NAB is in power which has yet to establish its reputation. The coming days will prove if all this commotion is a mere smokescreen to please the media and give the illusion that a lot is being done or whether something is actually being done. The new NAB chairperson Javed Iqbal was formerly heading the Missing Persons Commission and his performance over there wasn’t particularly praiseworthy. Furthermore, all these new cases are against political parties of the opposition, not against any government representative. NAB’s real strength comes to the fore when it attempts to resolve references pending against government representatives. So we need to wait and watch to see how things pan out.”
Arif Chaudhry, President IHCBA
“Everyone had been calling for action to be taken across the board and NAB has amped up steam on all fronts at the will of the people. The corruption chain is being tackled top down, and this is how it should be. NAB has made it clear that only the eradication of corruption is the target – not any party or individual. If only the prime minister or particular parties were being investigated, both would have raised questions regarding the authenticity of the accountability process. NAB has to now prove its mettle. Several high level directors and prosecutors are working in tandem to raise accountability across the board and a lot is riding on their success.”
Zulfiqar Chaudhry, President LHCBA
“The people of this country have waited for a very long time for the country’s institutions to deliver justice and handle these mega corruption cases with transparency. The national exchequer has been destroyed. It is the responsibility of several tiers of the government, such as NAB, FIA and the police to work together to prosecute the culprits responsible for this. A few people are siphoning money out of the country and causing the country and the exchequer to rot. A concrete plan of action needs to be formulated to get back the money that has been looted by these people.”