6 Ways SC’s Recent Judgement On NAB Shook Pakistan
In a scathing judgement on Monday, the Supreme Court had criticised the accountability laws of the country, saying these laws were being used as a tool to ‘arm-twist and pressurise’ political opponents into submission and ‘fracturing political parties’.” Legal experts and journalists are terming the verdict unprecedented as it highlighted the notorious role of NAB in the political affairs of the country.
Here are the six must-read points of the judgement.
1. About interventions in democratic setup by undemocratic forces: “We have come to this unfortunate pass, in most part, because of the repeated direct unconstitutional interventions, and manipulations by undemocratic forces. Lust of power, desire to capture, and rule, and pursuit of self-aggrandization, have resulted in violation of the prescribed jurisdictional limits and ceding of political space in governance. The wide spread suppression of dissent is another anathema to our democracy. An egalitarian order remains a distant dream.”
2. Accountability laws’ use to change political loyalties: “Rather than doing any good to the country or our bodypolitic and cleansing the fountainheads of governance, these laws and the manner in which they were enforced, caused further degeneration and created chaos, since the same were framed and applied with an oblique motive of arm twisting and pressurizing political opponents into submission, subjugation and compliance, or remove them from the electoral scene at least temporarily. These laws were successfully employed as tools to change political loyalties, for splintering and fracturing political parties. Pygmies were selected, nurtured, promoted, and brought to prominence and power.”
3. NAB’s act of using power of arrest as a ‘political tool’: “Arrest of any person is a grave matter. Capricious exercise of the power to arrest has deleterious consequences, thus highlighting the need to exercise it with care, caution and sensitivity. Arrest of a person has to be justified not only by referring to prima facie evidence and adequate actionable material sufficiently connecting the person with the offence/crime complained of, but also by showing that in the given circumstances, there were no other less intrusive or restrictive means available. The power of arrest should not be deployed as a tool of oppression and harassment.”
4. Linking civil liberties to “desire for peace” by quoting revolutionary poet Habib Jalib: “Until we create a culture of transparency, liberty, civility, and democratic values, our desire for peace and order shall continue to elude us. To borrow from Habib Jalib:”
ظلم رہے اور امن بہی ہو
کیا ممکن ہے تم ہی کہو
5. Clear support to freedom of thought and expression and condemnation of suppression of dissent: “Until we value the ideals of democracy and liberty, we shall forever remain shackled not only deprived of the rights afforded to us by the Constitution but also unable to gain our rightful place in the comity of nations. As Thucydides wisely proclaimed “the strong will continue to do what they can and the weak shall continue to suffer what they must.” Our salvation, thus, lies not in suppressing ideas we disagree with but in demanding freedom of thought, conscience, and expression for those whom we most vociferously disagree with.”
6. Questioning the impartiality and credibility of NAB: Discriminatory approach of NAB also is affecting its image and has shaken the faith of the people in its credibility and impartiality. The bureau seems reluctant in proceeding against people on one side of the political divide even in respect of financial scams of massive proportion while those on the other side are being arrested and incarcerated for months and years without providing any sufficient cause even when the law mandates investigations to be concluded expeditiously and trial to be concluded within 30 days.