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Rida Hussain |

The successful annulment of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 by the Sindh Assembly is perhaps a  sigh of relief for many of the legislators of the Pakistan People’s Party. The revocation of the 1999 ordinance under the 18th amendment was the last thing the provincial government could have done to fully tear apart the principles of democracy while stretching the autonomy granted to provincial government to its maximum.

The minister also said that anti – corruption laws are well in place and hence there was no need of foisting two parallel laws for the same purpose.

The Sindh Assembly hereby has ended the 18-year old stint of National Accountability Bureau in Sindh. The NAB is demolished and the system has been reverted back to the orthodox set up of anti- corruption unit. The Anti- corruption courts will replace NAB courts and will take over the proceedings from where NAB left them. According to the Law Minister, the implication of the bill is to repeal the laws that were imposed by a dictatorial regime to discredit the politicians. The minister also added that soon new laws would be formulated to strengthen the anti- corruption unit.

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The minister also said that anti – corruption laws are well in place and hence there was no need of foisting two parallel laws for the same purpose. As a ruling party, do they have a right to sell their supporters and voters a dummy?

Keeping in mind the ongoing triangle of the tussle between the provincial government IG Sindh A.D Khawaja and the Sindh Rangers over the repeated efforts by the latter to check and arrest the corrupt elements under the shadow of the ruling party, the need to revoke is well understood.

Being a federal department, in other words, NAB can no longer question, investigate or conduct inquiries into the affairs of the departments or the autonomous bodies being controlled by the provincial government. This means that the provincial autonomous body will be replaced as a watchdog for the corrupt elements in the provincial government.

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Keeping in mind the ongoing triangle of the tussle between the provincial government IG Sindh A.D Khawaja and the Sindh Rangers over the repeated efforts by the latter to check and arrest the corrupt elements under the shadow of the ruling party, the need to revoke is well understood.With unprecedented corruption at all levels of the Sindh government, can we hope to see any betterment with the institution of the provincial anti-corruption unit?

Just like every other department, there are fair chances that uncontrolled attempts would be made to mar the legislative impartiality of this newly restored department.

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Meritocracy is expected to be compromised by the reinstatements of t personnel in the anti-corruption establishment and courts. In this case, the absence of the check of a neutral body, the decisions may be attempted to bring in favor. The opposition has aggressively rejected the bill, while the public is also not satisfied with the bill. With such direct confrontation from the opposition and the civil society what is perhaps the underlying doctrine to pass the bill. The people like Sharjeel Memon, Dr. Asim Hussain, and the Manzoor Kaka are seemingly the direct beneficiary of this repeal.

If the stance of the government is taken on face value then what was the urgency of revoking this law when the Pakistan People’s party themselves had spent five years as the ruling party in the federal government.

Selective accountability and bad governance

Questions can be raised on the dualism on part of the PPP which is heavily criticizing the ruling party in the Panama Case but playing fearlessly with the principles of accountability to its fullest within their political jurisdiction.

Accountability is hence a very integral to the concept of democracy, without which it cannot thrive. There is no need to further dissect the reasons of the current state and shape of democracy in Pakistan.

Why is there so much hesitation found among the PPP when the canons of accountability are towards them? Should the abrogation of the bill be seen as a freedom to prolong the process of the justice or another approach to do away with every possible fear of accountability?

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Accountability is hence a very integral to the concept of democracy, without which it cannot thrive. There is no need to further dissect the reasons of the current state and shape of democracy in Pakistan. There exist rather more urgent issues which require immediate attention.In the same 18th amendments the provinces are too given the autonomous powers to improve the infrastructure and social indicators such as adequate hospitals; the provision of the quality education within the province.

Why the government is reluctant to perform efficiently on the already granted powers in the amendments. Even after the number of casualties reported in the Sehwan blast, due to lack of health centers and emergency centers to cope up with the situation, no heed has been given to improve the health facilities in the area.

No contingency planning has been chalked out and preparations were done by the government to grapple with emergency situations afflicting the less developed areas.Aren’t these within the purview and ambit of the provinces? The government, therefore, needs to look up on issues that are perched high on the human development index.

Rida Hussain is a Master’s in Mass Communication from the University of Karachi with a keen interest to write on social and current affairs. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Rida Hussain is a Master’s in Mass Communication from the University of Karachi with a keen interest to write on social and current affairs.

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