Is it Prime Minister Imran Khan’s self-indictment?

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 04:07 PM, 22 May, 2021
Is it Prime Minister Imran Khan’s self-indictment?
File photo.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had been working for 23 years but had not been able to curb corruption. 

He said China had managed to eliminate corruption in 35 years as it initially controlled it at higher level and awarded punishment to over 425 people at the ministerial level.

“Our NAB was established 22 years ago but the bureau could not tackle corruption because it always goes after petty accused and not the big ones. There is a need to lay hands on higher-level corruption, [only] then it will be eradicated,” Mr Khan said while addressing a ceremony in the federal capital. 

The disappointing “disclosure’’ at a time when the PTI government has already served out more than half of its mandated term is nothing but self-indictment. 

As a matter of principle, by now the PTI government should have brought the promised change in society and people should have experienced the difference in the situation now and during the previous rules.  The country should have become corruption-free to a large extent.  

But this would have been possible only if the PTI had really done some homework before assuming power as a result of the 2018 elections. 

Imran Khan and other PTI leaders should have been aware of the major problems facing the country and their effective solutions. They should have been cognizant of state of deep-rooted corruption in all walks of life and ready with the most effective methods to uproot the menace.

It is very unfortunate that at this juncture instead of sharing his government’s performance with the nation the prime minister is talking of the NAB’s failure in uprooting corruption. 

The question is who is responsible for the NAB’s failure?  

None but the government. 

It was the government’s duty to meticulously monitor the NAB’s performance and take effective steps to improve it.  

Since eradication of corruption was one of the major pledges made by the PTI, failure on this front means the government has failed to bring about any tangible change in the country during more than half of its term. 

Still more regrettable is the fact that the NAB chairman has refuted the impression that the anti-graft institution has failed to deliver. 

Justice (R) Javed Iqbal says aggressive and systematic propaganda against the Bureau is going on and those who do not know the Constitution are criticising the NAB law. 

He has repeatedly said that the NAB recovered Rs714 billion from the corrupt elements. 

But to be fair the increase in recoveries doesn’t mean a decrease in corruption. 

Apparently, the higher recoveries are only reflective of the corrupt elements’ capacity to share the ‘booty’. Nobody can say how much money had those who surrendered Rs714 billion looted. 

The PTI government has also failed to bring about any healthy change in the political culture of the party. 

The attitude of the Jehangir Khan Tareen group in the National and Punjab Assemblies is the latest example.  

Legislators have been blackmailing governments in the past and they are doing the same now.  

After making much noise in the media, the JKT group of these black mailers met the Punjab chief minister on Friday. They felt “satisfied” after being promised development funds for their constituencies. 

In other words, money makes the anger of these legislators go. 

And that was their real ‘grievance’. 

Now they would get their fixed share from the development projects after which Imran Khan and Usman Buzdar would become ideal leaders for them.  

This shows that nothing has changed during the PTI rule.  

A party that has failed to change the corrupt culture of legislators cannot be expected to bring about any change in other walks of life. 

As for the eradication of corruption, Prime Minister Imran Khan would not have to look towards any other country for this purpose if he strictly implements the laws and court verdicts. 

There would be a qualitative change in society if those awarded capital punishment for their involvement in heinous crime had been taken to gallows. 

For reasons best known to the government, the condemned prisoners are living comfortably in jails – at public expense. And when those punished for committing murders and other serious offences are not executed, who will fear punishments?  

In such a situation why would anyone miss the opportunity to commit a crime or make money?