Accountability For All!

Accountability For All!

Accountability is an end desired by law through which a person is held responsible for his or her culpable actions in a civilized society. This fundamental idea of being held accountable is far long lost or is still there but in a ghostly manner in every department of Pakistan since the last couple of years. All of the people think they have a free hand to do whatever they wish to do according to their will.

There are persons who, from time to time, raised their voices for accountability, but due to a lack of commitment no one tries to pay any heed to it as everyone is occupied with their own problems and priorities. Pakistan is just a replication of the phrase “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”. No one is willing to strive or stand up for justice among people. They have adulterated this country with their venom of corruption which has seeped into the roots of this nation.

After a long time, documents have been made global by the name of ‘Panama Leaks’ which were published internationally and have created a situation of chaos in the world, in which hundreds of worldly renowned names mentioned were alleged to have been involved in evading tax and spreading corruption on a large scale just to invest in, and to create, offshore companies.

The most shocking news that has arguably come to the knowledge of every citizen of Pakistan was that our Prime Minister, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his family were also named in Panama Leaks. These papers turned out to be a nightmare for the Prime Minister as they not just created a situation of mayhem with in the country but as well within his own political party.

On one hand influential political persons resigned over the allegations of Panama Papers, such as Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugss, while the Prime Minister of Pakistan on the contrary looked calm and satisfied with the whole episode of Panama Leaks as if no allegation had been laid against him. In fact, he started giving clarifications addressing the people of Pakistan on national television. The Prime Minister, who had never addressed or given a live speech whenever the nation he represents faced calamities like floods, suicide attacks or the arresting of RAW agents, is now seen more often clarifying himself of the allegations to save face.

Soon after the PM’s address to the nation, the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif called for ‘across-the-board accountability’ in veiled reference to Panama Leaks and dismissed some top army officials of the Pakistan Army. This act of the General has been applauded by the whole nation including journalists and political analysts. They deemed it to be a wakeup call for the politicians to present themselves for accountability in front of this nation.

Unfortunately, whether it was the Model Town shootings, the case of Asghar Khan, the BBC documentary from Pakistan to Park Lane which revealed the way the Sharifs have done corruption and money laundering, or the Panama Leaks, all this has not had an impact or impeded the Sharifs in anyway.

The whole affair of Panama Leaks disclosing offshore bank accounts of politicians, celebrities and businesspersons is nothing amusing. However what is astounding about this whole thing, apart from all the propaganda and the gossip element, is its unethical and vague legal status which does not hold any of the mentioned people in the list accountable. Although it is absolutely and grossly unacceptable yet, apart from a few resignations and assurances, nothing much has happened especially in Pakistan.

It needs to be understood that expecting the prime minister to resign is not something which should be a matter of concern. Instead, the main concern should be accountability and democracy. Principles of democracy should not be compromised due to a bureaucratic hunger to stay in power. Ignoring the whole notion of democracy, which inherently brought them into power, is destabilizing and weakening the beliefs and principles of true democracy. It would be appropriate that an ‘effective’ judicial commission should be established, which is truly fair in every sense of the word and then this matter should be resolved. Nonetheless, I would like to mention here that this whole process is not just the handiwork of one or two persons – a whole nation should stand like the others did in the wake of Panama Leaks otherwise these thugs will again be successful in escaping from these allegations and will again present themselves as victims who are naïve.

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any organization with which he might be associated.

Arslan Munawar

The writer is a law graduate of the University of London and also holds a Masters in Law (LLM) degree from Cardiff University. He is working as an associate at House of Law.



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