By Wasib Imdad
Several changes by the torch bearers of ‘change’ shall be made in order to stop themselves from being changed, by those whose moods seem to change, as a change is on the cards; rather long due now. Islamabad is foiled in a wrap of dense mist but inside the heated political circles where silence and inactivity is seldom seen, the latest amendments in NAB are under discussion.
It is being framed as another NRO by some and a business friendly step by others. The nitpickers are somehow aligning it with the shady business back in 2007, where certain sub-laws had been played with, to put the cases against PPP to rest. Those in favor of the latest step taken by the Government have welcomed it, framing it as an answer to those who cried of Pakistan not being business friendly anymore and investments not coming to the home turf. Whatever people say, it was a long awaited yet unheard cry of the business community that they couldn’t work, invest and float their cash around due to the suffocated atmosphere which had sent shivers across the corporate spines and cried that the tightened fists of NAB need to be loosened.
As per me, the step needs to be applauded. Tax affairs are taken out of the hands of NAB and the institute has been directed to focus only upon major corruption cases thus a slab of 50 crore has been set. The remand period has been limited to 14 days and within 3 months the anti-corruption watchdog will have to complete the investigation. Procedural lapses will be forgiven; businessmen and traders are now out of bounds for NAB and the public office holders will be checked completely for the misuse of authority for private gains.
Imran Khan is under fire from all sides. Be it the business community, his allies, the establishment, his voters or be it the friendly countries who had lent out a helping hand when he came to power. He is faced with a dysfunctional parliament, a hefty mouthed self-sufficient cabinet, free of bars political rivals, shifting gears and the breakdown of the accountability colossus, failed reforms and bad governance all have kept the clock hands of the year ticking by.
Things however won’t be let to go on like this for long as they have fallen to an even more confusing stage now. Neither the government knows where they are heading nor does the opposition seem to figure out of what lies next. The voters, however, have been let down big time. Starting from the DPO Pakpattan case where the courtroom no.1 echoed with cries of laughter on the inefficiency of Usman Buzdar and his team, the term has been full of grumbles and stumbles for Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf and those not landing from their flight of fancy with Imran Khan. What to cry and what not to.
Kashmir still is under siege but our decision makers seem to have landed that topic to the back seat in their minds. Let’s acknowledge that we failed to make Trump mediate between us and India but kept on trying for the US in order to clear their mess up in Afghanistan bringing Taliban and Trump administration to the negotiation table. Let’s accept that we so far seem confused on how to react to the Citizenship Amendment Bill passed in India and have not managed anything to internationalize Modi’s venomous blunders other than a tweet or two. Let’s also admit that we failed to impress FATF, couldn’t complete the targets that we set with IMF and could not wilt away the Chinese concerns regarding our seriousness with CPEC.
Internally, it’s all a Tragicomedy to say the least. Government managed nothing but blunders which led to a grimace at the word ‘accountability’ by the whole nation.
Just take the Rana Sanaullah case as an example. Shehryar Afridi claimed that he had a video, rephrasing it later to a 3 week footage, which had been presented in the court of law. He later said that the trial had not started and when it would, only then would the proofs be presented. ANF’s prosecutor rubbished the Minister’s claims, saying that CCTV footage of the day when Rana Sanaullah was taken into custody is presented. Shehryar Afridi termed Rana Sanaullah as a ‘Pakistani Al-Pacino’ (he meant El-Chapo) who leads a mafia scaring every Judge who takes up his case. He said that four of the judges so far have refused to hear his case, but Farogh Naseem, the Law Minister refuted his claims by saying that only one of the judges so far have refused from hearing the case and that too due to other personal commitments. The list of mistakes goes on and on.
Who remembers the Sahiwal massacre about which PM Khan tweeted that as soon as he returns from Qatar, he will take the killers through the course of law, but still the nation awaits their Prime Minister to return from Qatar to deliver justice. How many of you remember SP Tahir Dawar about whom the government stated in black and white that even if his killers are across the border they will be chased and brought to the rope. Can anyone recall the Horse trading in the Senate elections where the government lacked 16 votes and managed to win by a heavy majority? Who can recall about the failures of Pakistan citizen portal, Pakistan Banao certificate, Mera Bacha Alert, Youth loan and the reforms in civil laws that our Law Minister promised?
Does anyone have a track of the heavy bureaucratic shuffles that are struck twice every month to make Usman Buzdar capable of some sort of governance and delivery? As far as I remember there was a goof up named as the GIDC, but wait, the term goof up makes me recall the comedy of errors in the Army Chief Extension case; a scenario which lead to international media laughing on our sensitive yet secret affairs. Did anyone just say goof up? That brings me to the Kuala Lampur Summit, another muddled affair, where the Foreign office itself said that Imran Khan, the Prime Minister, should not have taken a line about the summit, prior to it, without learning about its objectives first. Foreign office said that Prime Minister’s office did not pay any heed to the plan chalked out by MOFA to handle the scenario with care and deal with Saudi concerns about the new Islamic bloc. But wait, who cares, when you have a friend like Mahatir who you can ring up any time to say “I am sorry Mahatir, but see, u-turns are the sign of great leadership, you know”?
The writer is an Islamabad based Broadcast Journalist. He tweets @wasib25