February 17; Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency – PILDAT has expressed shock and concern at the Prime Minister’s open warning to the nation’s independent accountability institution NAB.
PILDAT said that it is shocking that the Prime Minister, who is generally very cautious about commenting on national institutions, has gone out of the way to threaten the National Accountability Bureau of consequences.
PILDAT expressed its concern at the growing trend of targeting accountability institutions by the executive. Earlier the PPP-led Sindh Government had criticized the NAB in the harshest terms and the PPP had introduced a bill in the Senate to clip the NAB Powers.
PILDAT has criticized pressure tactics against the NAB which included a private members bill by a ruling party MNA to make NAB a toothless institution. PILDAT warned against any effort to roll back the independence and effectiveness of the NAB and said that it would not only dilute democracy, but it may also invite non-institutional accountability by institutions which do not have the legal mandate but have the muscle to undertake such accountability. It is, therefore, better for democratic future of the country to not make an effort to weaken the State’s accountability institutions.
PILDAT noted that the NAB has come a long way from being a military dictator’s tool for selective victimization to an institution whose head is appointed through a bi-partisan process with an effective legal framework. PILDAT reminded that no one, including the senior government functionaries, should be above accountability in the country.
It is a disturbing trend that the powerful elite hold others accountable but if they are questioned about their own conduct, they threaten the very institutions.
PILDAT has asked the NAB to not feel demoralized or harassed by these pressure tactics and to continue its independent accountability in strict accordance with law, without fear or favour.
PILDAT called upon the political parties, civil society and media to come forward and defend independent accountability institutions.