PM Imran Khan has announced to institute a high powered Inquiry Commission under his supervision to probe into a massive rise in debt to the tune of 24000 Billion rupees during the last ten years and its utilization. Its composition would include reps from FIA, FBR, ISI, MI, IB, SECP and AG Office to lend it a measure of professionalism, authenticity and transparency. The Commission will be empowered to hire forensic auditors/experts of international repute for its assistance. The commission would fully investigate all who remained at helm during stipulated period with an underlying aim that no one dare leave the country in dire straits ever again. The nation at large has welcomed the announcement however, ruling elite particularly, PPP and PML (N) hastened to denounce it on one pretext or the other. Basically both parties are considered responsible to plunge the country blatantly into debt trap, laid by our nemesis.
Though top leader of both parties are already under captivity however, their amateur and tainted dynastic heirs are joining hands to block or discredit the move. Their criticism is varied and willy-nilly. Being a selected PM, Commission is not his baby. It is on behest of those who propelled him into power. It is aimed at torpedoing 18th Constitutional Amendment to deprive provinces of their financial autonomy. The corruption is not anew in Pakistan. It is since first day of its inception. What has caused to scrutinize it now? Why exercise is being kept confined to ten years only. The inquiry needs to be all encompassing and across the board. Instead of empowering accountability institutions by legislative reforms, Imran Khan is subjugating institutions by solo actions. Their frivolous talk also include that sagging economy would not turn around by jailing political rivals. It would revive only by deliverance which he is utterly incapable of. The formation of such Commission would not give bread to hungry people or convince them that they are not hungry.
The Government under him, has destroyed economy despite acquiring huge sum of loans. He also needs to give account of this money. He needs to nail down corrupt people around him if he genuinely intends to rid country of corruption. Imran Khan was in anger when he announced formation of the Commission. This reminded a throwback to his days of cheerleader at container where he used to proclaim that he would put them in jails when he would come to power. Besides, eclipsing rationality, this smacks of political victimization and vengeance. This commission is a crude attempt to divert attention of people from tax heavy budget, stamped by IMF. They have also tried to fool simpleminded and gullible people by an untenable proposition that accountability and economy could not go together. Though their utterances are bereft of substance however, they have connections in media, economic circles and other places to advance their ulterior pursuits through misrepresentation, disinformation, speculation and rumours which cause unnecessary alarm and anxiety.
In any responsible nation, following a debacle/disaster formation of an Inquiry Commission is a common practice. Contrarily, in Pakistan, it remained a far cry for host of reasons which is a sad commentary on our national character. On this yardstick, constitution of Inquiry Commission leaves some room for skepticism however, at present, country is in hands of a man who has struggled long and hard against formidable odds to reach at this stage of accountability. With his presence, constitution of Inquiry Commission is neither strange nor unusual. It was just a matter of time when he goes after those who have plundered the country mercilessly. With country starved of its own money, ruling elite found greener pasture in debt, being lent on bidding of foreign powers to make Pakistan land into debt trap. With this, it turned out to be double lock to handcuff Pakistan.
The debt of 24000 billion rupee heaped on us, has now become a real conundrum of staggering proportions for the country. It is a huge amount. In return, what we got; a few poorly and haphazardly built projects of roads and power to hoodwink hapless people for next term of loot and plunder.
For so obvious reasons, this make a compelling case to inquire about. It is a prima facie case of criminal negligence, indifference and greed because circumstantial evidence is in abundance. Precisely this is the reason that ruling elite is unnerved and perplexed. An accountability process cannot be run according to specifications of the accused. Given conditions, it is the state which set the process. In a country where institutions are not very scrupulous, it is the leader who steers course of action while ensuring impartiality and objectivity because an urgent and dire requirement cannot be put on hold for want of institutions to evolve themselves first. In Pakistan, accountability is an urgent work to crack sense in heads of various mafias who still want to rewind the change. The country has to set examples at right priority. It has to see possible digressions and their impacts. In accountability drive, first is the bigwigs because fish rots from head. Others can wait depending upon capacity/capability of accountability institutions nevertheless, no one could be above and beyond the reach of accountability. Apart from accountability process, government needs to sharpen its communication skills and substance to expose their misleading vocabulary. It needs to locate and break nexus between various mafias and ruling elite to preempt their nefarious designs.
— The writer, a retired Lt Col,
is freelance columnist based in