WHETHER or not the prime minister was involved in corruption in the rental power plants project remains an open question. But his request to the Supreme Court on Friday to replace the National Accountability Bureau investigation with a one-man commission is the best way forward at this point. The NAB investigation has been languishing for months now, plagued by delays and controversies, complete with the sinister death of an officer assigned to the case. It is difficult to see how the probe could credibly continue with the same people at its helm, and if those people are replaced by an opposition party’s candidates after the elections, a new set of biases could come into play. So the prime minister’s suggestion that a trusted person outside NAB be appointed to look into the case is probably the only chance the investigation has of being completed and its findings widely accepted. But that, too, has its challenges; the Arsalan Iftikhar case was also moved from NAB to just such a commission, and that investigation has not held anyone accountable or announced any results.

The real challenge that both these cases reflect is the all too familiar, long-running problem of the lack of an effective accountability body in Pakistan. In their various guises over the years, these bodies have been seen as little more than tools of political victimisation or, at best, as being too soft on the party in power. That in turn has had a lot to do with the way these bodies are appointed and who they report to. The real need is for an organisation that is financially and administratively independent, as far as possible, from the government of the day, and whose head is appointed through a truly bipartisan process. The delays and disagreements over the National Accountability Commission legislation are proof that Pakistan still hasn’t come up with such a set-up and process. This government managed to delay the creation of the commission long enough to complete a term without it. The hope now is that the next government has the integrity to move forward with it.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (10)

farmerdr
March 11, 2013 5:15 am
Quickly - Yes. Correctly - According to Whom?
D.J
March 10, 2013 6:21 pm
if everything is to be done by army then other institutions are what for ??
HADI SAKEY
March 10, 2013 1:52 pm
NAB is a white elephant. Its Chairman is incompetent. This department should be closed and a new set-up should be introduced.
Sultan Khan
March 11, 2013 2:50 am
A good move by the PM and he has a right to ask for it. However, one thing must be ensured for the sake of" justice and equality " that whosoever heads the commission must be a family friend of the PM just like a family friend of Arsalan the Pious was appointed as head of the commission.
Husain Jan
March 11, 2013 12:54 am
Incompetent ? Yes but only in the sense that he is not ready to proceed against any one without blessings of his mentor - the president - his appointing authority. Otherwise he appears to be very competent as can be seen from his moves to save the culprits.
Masood Baig
March 10, 2013 6:33 pm
Masood Baig I agree with the comments of Talat.
Farhan
March 10, 2013 4:05 pm
Arsalan Iftikhar case was forwarded to one man commission because no public money was involved. in RPP Scam, public money is involved so it can't be handled like that
Talat
March 10, 2013 2:19 pm
Why the PM not asked for it a few months back? The PM sees that in a week or so he would no longer be the boss, and the NAB would have to arrest him under a new government. So its a tactic to get a few more months. Also, with due respect to the editor, in Arsalan Iftikhar case, NAB was not working under the Supreme Court, but under the government, and the government was manipulating it against Arsalan Ifthikar. But, in this case, the NAB is working under the Executive (the government), so who is to blame for the failure of the NAB or bais or whatever wrongs it commits?
khalidmurad1
March 10, 2013 11:36 am
Probably the NAB people were near breaking due to pressure, thus he wants to get another venue to further delay the case. The case should be given to Military Court, just see how quickly and correctly they decide?
Syed Ahmed
March 10, 2013 3:11 pm
Has any crimnal with political backing ever been punished.
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