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Accountability fails again

103 9 3

WITH the passage of drastic amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, by the two Houses of parliament last week, the failure of yet another project to hold effective and impartial accountability of public office holders has been formally pronounced. The National Accountability Bureau was created under the NAO some 23 years ago soon after Gen Musharraf staged his coup against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government. Much like its predecessors, NAB was transformed into a tool of political management soon after its inception. Although both NAO and the institution created under it — NAB — have lasted much longer than any of the preceding laws and institutions established for the stated objective of across-the-board accountability of public officials, NAB has attracted much more criticism than most of its predecessors.

Using populist slogans of rooting out corruption and holding powerful public officials accountable, almost all civil and military governments have used the laws and institutions of accountability against political opponents to achieve their goal of eliminating or subduing their political rivals.

Pakistan’s first constituent assembly had passed the much-dreaded Public and Representative Office (Disqualification) Act, 1949 and it was used for the trial and disqualification of public office holders — up to 15 years for ‘undesirable’ public office holders.

In 1959, the martial law government of Gen Ayub Khan promulgated the Public Offices (Disqualification) Order and the Elective Bodies (Disqualification) Order. For Ayub Khan, the latter did a........

© Dawn

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