The release of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah from Sukkur jail after more than two years of incarceration has put a question mark on the accountability process in the country. How is this possible that a mainstream political party leader can be arrested without any solid evidence? Khursheed Shah was given relief because the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) failed to prove its stance in the corruption case. Opinions in favour and against the verdict continue to pour in from the political circles, legal community and the general public.
Soon after the verdict, speculations started about the latest development. At a time when PPP supporters are celebrating the verdict, questions are also being raised about the justice system and accountability process in the country. Ostensibly, it is a great setback for NAB that has failed to prove its credibility. On many occasions, NAB has been accused of conducting selective accountability under the instructions of mighty institutions. There is a pick and choose policy. Moreover, only politicians come under the radar while persons belonging to other powerful institutions like the judiciary and army have never been held accountable for their wrongdoings. In any case the law needs to take its course. It was the responsibility of the NAB to present credible evidence about alleged corruption committed by the PPP leader.
There should be transparency and accountability in all walks of life, but it should be across the board irrespective of the rank and affiliation of the perpetrator. All institutions including the army and judiciary should pass through the accountability test to come clean before the public. A one-sided drive targeting only civilians will only yield negative results and lead the country to more chaos. It is a totally wrong perception that only civilians are corrupt and there are no irregularities in other powerful institutions. We can easily find cases of massive corruption committed by senior officials of the establishment and a drive at that end must also be initiated. The political forces should call for an operation that takes action against every corrupt person, irrespective of his position in the state or society. No institution should be immune from the drive for accountability.