Moeed Pirzada |
Many wonder why is Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) getting itself into issues which are clearly beyond its scope and capacities. NAB needs to focus on issues of corruption that involve abuse of public office leaving the rest to the other institutions in the regulatory system in public and private sectors.
PIA is now trying to distance itself from the promotional video made by a Polish Travel blogger, Eva Bianca Zubeck, a day after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) took notice of this video apparently on the grounds that a woman covered in Pakistan’s national flag is insulting or demeaning to the flag and that a video shot around the PIA plane represented security risks.
A young female tourist, Eva zu Beck, all the way from #Europe visited the beautiful landscape of ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’ and she admired the breath-taking beauty of the region. See what she has to say about #BeautifulPakistan! 🇵🇰
Full: https://t.co/KUe1AthkbUhttps://t.co/raLd4ezELo pic.twitter.com/vwGtcGMARI
— Government of Pakistan (@GovtofPakistan) May 5, 2018
The first contention – if really represents NAB’s position – makes NAB some sort of medieval moral crusader, a watchdog on moral values of the country instead of a 21stcentury modern institution that is supposed to protect public and state from the abuse of public office by rich and powerful men and women. What NAB needs to develop is an ability to successfully prosecute rich and powerful and a capacity to interact successfully with international legal, and financial regulatory regimes.
Unfortunately, the opposite may happen and such unwarranted interventions may end up reducing support that NAB enjoys from thinking sections of the society – what you commonly refer to as “intelligentsia”
Apex anti-corruption body’s capacities in both areas are severely limited as was on full display – and is still being witnessed – during its investigations into the financial probes after the leak of Panama papers by ICIJ. One wonders: how much more information was unearthed, obtained added by NAB investigators into the cases against Sharif family after the initial disclosures by ICIJ? Any aware media person or citizen that has closely followed the events since April 2016 will be compelled to admit that: “not much”.
Honouring a flag is about respecting its values. Don’t like @evabiankaz dancing with our flag? Fine, ignore it like you all ignore minorities genocide; anti-women slogans and child labour. @Official_PIA did a great job with the promo: #kikiChallenge https://t.co/w9IQv2C2XY
— Aisha Fayyazi Sarwari (@AishaFSarwari) August 13, 2018
Similarly, NAB’s inabilities to develop professional relationships with financial watchdogs across jurisdictions in UK, Europe and North America are visible. We are not even sure if NAB will benefit from the new legislation – like “Unexplained Wealth Order, 2017” in UK – that are appearing in OECD countries to combat financial crimes associated with abuse of public office.
Read more: NAB: Misguided Jihad is far more dangerous?
Amidst full display of such glaring “capacity issues”, NAB going after PIA for a promotional video by Eva Bianca Zubeck, can only be termed “tragic disconnect” from its actual mandate and responsibilities. NAB cannot be a “moral crusader” and its argument – if correctly reported in English papers – that Bianca’s video shoot represented a security lapse is ridiculous. Airport security – thanks to our stars – is the responsibility of Airport Security Force (ASF) and not NAB.
How the hell is NAB involved in the Kiki Challenge video? Shame on NAB for acting outside its jurisdiction.
— Yasser Latif Hamdani (@theRealYLH) August 13, 2018
ASF has handled this crucial responsibility with utmost professionalism and due diligence. Pakistan, since 9/11, has effectively protected its airports from all attempts of hijacking and terrorism (except the attack in Karachi in 2014) while the rest of the world kept on struggling to improve its airport security – and this needs to be understood in the context of massive terrorism that was going on all over Pakistan. The motivation and capacity to penetrate and attack Pakistani air facilities was massive, more than anywhere else in the world. If Pakistan remained safe then it was to a large extent due to the professionalism of ASF – nation’s unsung hero.
NAB needs to focus on issues of corruption that involve abuse of public office leaving the rest to the other institutions in the regulatory system in public and private sectors.
So where NAB fits into airport security? This is just more than hilarious…!
So the bottom line is: NAB’s foray into what appears like a promotional video created by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is totally unwarranted “adventurism” by this apex anti-corruption watchdog – an act that makes NAB more controversial than what PIA has or has not done. Interventions like these create the impression that NAB’s top management is looking for populism. Unfortunately, the opposite may happen and such unwarranted interventions may end up reducing support that NAB enjoys from thinking sections of the society – what you commonly refer to as “intelligentsia”.
This video showing Polish tourist and travel blogger Eva Bianka Zubeck performing the popular ‘Kiki Challenge’ in and outside a PIA aircraft went viral on social media on Monday. There is a background to it. Social media users across the globe over the last few weeks have been sharing videos, using the hashtag #KikiChallenge, which typically consist of jumping out of a moving vehicle and dancing along to the song “In My Feelings” by Canadian Singer Drake.
If someone half awake and half clued has used his or her cerebral hemispheres to connect PIA with international trends, to increase PIA’s branding then that Pakistani marketing mind needs to be congratulated rather than harassed by NAB management. I sincerely believe that NAB’s top decision makers will reflect carefully on this faux pau and let this matter die – as so many others issues die in the normal course of Pakistani system.
Moeed Pirzada is a prominent TV Anchor and Editor Strategic Affairs with Dunya News Network. He is a columnist and video blogger who has written extensively for national and international publications, and has lectured at universities and think tanks across the world. He tweets at: MoeedNJ. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.