Era of justice

August 05, 2020

It is an open secret that without strict accountability you can’t prosper as a nation. It is very unfortunate for us that even after 73 years of independence, we are still awaiting messiahs...

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It is an open secret that without strict accountability you can’t prosper as a nation. It is very unfortunate for us that even after 73 years of independence, we are still awaiting messiahs who can help get rid of corruption in the country.

Although NAB is an independent national institution that has a heavy responsibility to clean up corruption in Pakistan, surprisingly our leaders – who made the NAB law and this institution – never ever tried to build the credibility of this institution as an independent and impartial entity. Rather, NAB lacks basic infrastructure and faces capacity-building issues, such as shortage of NAB courts and judges.

This just shows that our leaders have not been sincere about accountability. Earlier, Gen Musharraf had misused NAB in 1999-2008. Then the Zardari government from 2008 to 2013 was not interested in accountability since the majority of their leaders were liable to be arrested in NAB cases. Similarly, the PML-N from 2013 to 2018 was also least interested in accountability. Now all of them are crying about NAB and its credibility and performance. Even the present PTI government has no vision of impartial and across-the-board accountability.

A nation can’t survive until its judicial system is empowered to deliver justice instantly and inexpensively. It is the prime duty of the state to create such legislation and infrastructure. Without justice, a civilized society is just a dream. Unfortunately, in Pakistan our leaders and ruling elite have remained busy in looting national money, leaving the poor nation without healthcare, education and a good justice system. Hence, there is no option except to compromise and become a corrupt citizen and give a twist to the NAB authority – who by the by are also members of the same society.

Mr Ijaz Hussain Batalvi, a legendary barrister and intellectual once said to me that there is a need to appoint a policeman with every citizen of Pakistan. That seems to be true: to handle and to control the 220 million people of Pakistan and to keep them honest and corruption free, NAB requires a huge capacity building of human resource, law officers, judges, courts and infrastructure with transparency.

In this respect, the SC has rightly ordered trials to be completed within three months; appeal time in high court is mentioned as just 30 days in NAB laws.

The SC order of setting up 120 NAB courts will begin a new era when the speedy process of NAB courts and judgments will generate a new atmosphere of accountability and justice.

The writer is an advocate of the Supreme Court and former assistant attorney general for Pakistan.



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