It was another sad day for Parliamentary supremacy and the process of accountability in Pakistan. It appeared the political parties were unanimous in their approach to keep the military and judiciary outside the purview of the proposed National Accountability Commission. Early this week, the Parliament has decided to drop the Judges and Generals from the new legislation.
The idea of a new National Accountability Commission was the brainchild of the PPP and the PML-N, aimed at replacing the existing National Accountability Bureau (NAB), that came into existence in 1999 immediately after Gen Musharraf’s coup. The NAB designed to be “Pakistan's apex anti-corruption organization” was created by Gen Musharraf under the National Accountability Ordinance. It had its own shares of controversies and witch hunting; it was used by the military regime under Musharraf to go after the political leaders with a specific objective.
While the idea of accountability is imperative in any democratic structure, it is also equally important, that the process is clean and established by the Parliament and not by a military regime. So, a section within Pakistan wholeheartedly did welcome the idea behind the PML-N and PPP coming together to draft a National Accountability Commission.
Alas, the objective lost its essence, when the leading political parties, including those who were the architects, decided to exclude two institutions from the process – military and judiciary. It was Farhatullah Babar, the PPP Senator who introduced the provision; however, even the PPP didn’t want to pursue it further. The PTI and JI protested the process and walked out complaining their inputs were not considered.
One could understand the PTI and JI from not taking a stand. But why would the PPP and PML-N not push forward it? Are the political parties too afraid to not to offend the judiciary and the military? Having been at the receiving end in the recent decades, these two leading parties should have ensured an across the board accountability process, legislated through the Parliament. Such a process should have also strengthened the Parliament.
Especially the PML-N - if one has to go by Nawaz Sharif’s statements in the recent months, especially after his disqualification, one would have expected that the party take an assertive position in making accountability inclusive. It was surprising to see PML-N also agreeing to withdraw the provisions from making the accountability process inclusive.
Or, is there another “National Reconciliation” under progress?