A new study of the NAB record shows clearly that the process was politicized from the beginning and has nothing to do with ‘accountability’ and everything to do with politics. This new study is reported in Dawn today under the title, ‘judiciary, armed forces escape accountability’ by Syed Irfan Raza.
This should come as no surprise since the NAB was established under the dictatorship of Musharraf who delcared the army and the judiciary ‘sacred cows.’ Obviously, this does not mean that there is no corruption. Rather it means that NAB is an equally corrupt process, and corruption cannot be solved by corruption. Actually, what is needed is a fair process that is untained by past corruption and politics.
The army and the judiciary were declared sacred cows in the accountability process started by Gen Musharraf in 1999 and no case was registered against any serving or retired generals and judges of the superior courts by the National Accountability Bureau.
A study of NAB record revealed that the Musharraf regime had excluded the judiciary and the armed forces from the purview of NAB with an excuse that both had their own accountability systems.
A retired NAB official told Dawn that although retired army personnel fell within the purview of the NAB, no case was made against any retired general.
On the other hand, he added, the bureau had initiated hundreds of corruption cases against politicians, bureaucrats, government servants and retired military personnel.
The incumbent president, three former prime ministers and a number of present and former federal ministers and top bureaucrats are currently facing NAB references.
Although an inquiry against a general who was a patron-in-chief of a private housing scheme (Askariya Town) was initiated, he was later exonerated.
However, the NAB ordinance was compromised in 2002 when a former navy chief, Mansurul Haq, was convicted by an accountability court and under a plea bargain deal he had returned to NAB $7.5 million he allegedly received as kickbacks and commission in a deal.
According to reports, many judges have been accused of being involved in corruption cases, but no action was taken against them.
A judge of the superior court was accused of receiving a plot in Islamabad on ‘disable quota’ despite the fact he was perfectly ‘healthy and fit’.
“The armed forces have their own accountability process which provides for strict action in cases of corruption. The NAB Ordinance does not provide for accountability of serving armed forces personnel,” the report said.
About the judiciary it said: “There is the Supreme Judicial Council which decides allegations and misconduct cases in judiciary. Bringing the judiciary under an administrative action will amount to compromising its independence.”