A New BluePrint

It is time-consuming and expensive to try the corrupt biggies under existing
accountability laws. Obstacles in the way of good governance could be removed
through plea-bargaining mechanisms.

By S.R.H. Hashmi | October 2020

Pakistanis have been unlucky in that as compared to India, which had its sincere, founding leaders last long enough to put the country on a firm democratic footing, they lost theirs in quick succession, through the act of God or vicious men. To make it worse, Pakistan had its first military dictatorship just eleven years after partition.

And while the Ayub Khan era showed some material progress, his deprivation of the majority Bengalis of their due share created circumstances for the separation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) which was accomplished by his successor Gen. Yehya Khan. The corruption started in real earnest and only accelerated with time, making the leaders super rich while the masses suffered, and suffered badly. In due course, the Sharif and Zardari dynasties took hold of the country.

Then Gen. Pervez Musharraf took over due to the needless arrogance and stupidity of Nawaz Sharif. While Pervez Musharraf established the National Accountability Bureau to take to task the corrupt politicians, he ended up giving all of them a clean chit through the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), in order to prolong his rule. Many of the ongoing corruption cases against the Sharifs and Zardaris and their associates and accomplices are those filed by them against each other during their respective tenures.

Immediately before PTI took over, both PML-N and PPP had a five-year term each, during which they could have amended NAB laws. However, concentrating full time on corruption, they paid little attention to anything else.

The accountability process has been started seriously now, and both the PML-N and PPP have been subjected to a sort of a witch-hunt and with some justification. However, PTI is a new entrant, while PML-N and PPP have been in government - federal, provincial or both - for decades. Therefore, on first come, first ‘served’ basis, it is only natural for the bulk of the NAB cases to be against them.

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The writer is a free-lance contributor with interest in regional, South Asian and international affairs. He can be reached at

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