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Accountability and the PPP

Published Mar 21, 2017 05:43am

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IT was dramatic and confusion-ridden in a way that harkened back to a previous era of tumultuous politics. The return of Sharjeel Memon, former Sindh information minister and close ally of Asif Zardari, from self-imposed exile and his brief detention by the National Accountability Bureau have sparked a war of words between the Sindh government and the federal accountability regime of the PML-N government at the centre. That the accountability process needs an overhaul is patently obvious and accepted by all sides, including the political class. NAB’s operations are neither transparent nor entirely plausible. Indeed, on many an occasion, including in the incident with Mr Memon, there is a sense that NAB is more interested in burnishing its public-relations credentials than strictly following the law. To be sure, the sudden return of Mr Memon smacks of backroom manoeuvring and deal-making by the PPP. Indeed, a link between the PPP’s eventual willingness to help revive military courts and the hectic efforts to rehabilitate the inner circle of former president Zardari cannot be ruled out.

Whatever the flaws with the NAB regime and the mysterious circumstances in which Mr Memon was detained and released, there is an undeniable lack of interest on the part of both the PPP and the PML-N to address the accountability challenge. Since the latest furore centres on, and has been accentuated by, the PPP, consider the party leadership’s role in fostering a culture of impunity. In the nine years since a return to democracy, there has not been a single PPP leader who has been disciplined by the party itself. This despite being the ruling party for five years, the largest opposition party in parliament for nearly four, and with an unbroken spell leading the government in Sindh. The record in Sindh is particularly damning. While Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah attacks the centre for its interference in Sindh, what steps has his government taken to tackle corruption and graft? It was Mr Shah, after all, who came to power mid-term vowing to clean up governance and address the dismal public perception of the party when it comes to corruption.

As for the PML-N, with the Sharif family caught up in an anti-corruption probe by no less than the Supreme Court itself, the party appears unwilling to address clean governance as anything other than a matter of politics. Consider the amount of time and energy the PML-N has expended in countering the PTI over the past year. Had even a fraction of that time and effort been channelled into legislative reforms and strengthening of administrative oversight and accountability, the government could have by now overhauled the system to the extent of the first big names being caught and punished. What the PML-N and PPP seem to forget is that democracy is about more than winning the elections.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2017

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Comments (12) Closed



Mohammed Mar 21, 2017 10:49am

No democracy is about winning elections to avoid accountability and making lots of money at the expense of the poor.

Syed F. Hussaini Mar 21, 2017 11:18am

@Mohammed

For the last 65 years, the politicians had been personal servants of the civil and military government employees between grades 22 and 17--Ghulam Mohammad, Iskandar Mirza, Ayub Khan...

We need to reverse it and make these top bureaucrats servants of the government of the elected representatives of the people.

Thanks.

Shalone Mar 21, 2017 11:50am

I agree that democracy is more than winning elections, but NS believes in winning by hook or crook.

hakim Mar 21, 2017 12:59pm

Agreed with the Editorial that 'democracy is more than winning elections'. How the elections are contested and won in Pakistan have a big big question mark, specially for the two 'musical chair players' - PML(N) and PPP - even MQM. The voter has to learn a lesson.

Ali Vazir Mar 21, 2017 01:25pm

When will we open our eyes and stop relying upon a cult of absolute looters and plunderers? Can a seed sown of bitter melon give fruit of Mango? The solution is uprooting the seed of bigotry, corruption and plunder. And replacing with the sapling of justice and accountability.

CH. K. A. Nye Mar 21, 2017 01:37pm

@Ali Vazir... Great solution Vazir sb. However we the Awam are happy to plant the seeds of the bitter lemon over and over again by voting the same people again and again ad nauseum.... It is we who are at fault....

Riaz Ahmad Mar 21, 2017 01:42pm

Pakistans's democracy is about getting elected through connivance with a devious and crony ECP, bent police and rigged elections. Crossing this huddle puts the political class in the the world of living in luxury on the state's expanse like a parasite, flagrant abuse of power and robbing and pillage of the state coffers with impunity. What makes this vulgar and cleptocratic system possible is an electorate of SHEEPLE who keep voting for crooks and thugs election after election, so you can't blame the the politicians alone.

Syed F. Hussaini Mar 21, 2017 04:07pm

@Riaz Ahmad

People are People.

They believe in people and always vote right but are duped, deceived, betrayed.

People ain't no sheeple.

People are People!

They are always right.

The thieves are wrong--always.

Thanks.

Pakistani Mar 21, 2017 04:30pm

"well, all are held equally responsible for the existing condition of the country, not even an ordinary individual of the country is acquit from this guilt"

Mian M Amin(Old Ravian) Mar 21, 2017 07:26pm

Sir you are on the spot .Who wants accountability ? Not the two major parties .

Nagi Mar 22, 2017 01:44pm

@Syed F. Hussaini Totally agree with your finding

Syed F. Hussaini Mar 23, 2017 04:16am

@Nagi

Thank you.