Accountability, Business-friendly Style

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So, Mr. Sultan Ali Lakhani is yet another benefactor of the new national accountability bureau’s business friendly policy, which gives much leeway to the executors of the policy laid down by the top brass.

According to press reports Mr. Sultan Lakhani has paid Rs. 100 million without admitting any liability, one would like to know, what does this phrase without admitting any liability means. Under what head of account will this 100 million rupees go. Further on the report says, Mr. Sultan Lakhani will pay a sum of Rs. 1.5 Billion over a period of eight and half years. Is he marking time for the change of rulers and then all the Memorandums of understanding go into the archives of the government never to come out. A similar understanding has been reached between the government and Mr. Behram D. Avari. In Mr. Avari’s case the Bank converted the loan into equity without nominating any of its representative on the Board of Directors of the company. No action has been ever taken against the bank executive who approved this arrangement. Prima facie the bank executive is directly involved and he should have been taken to task for gross misconduct. I won’t be surprised if the bank executive concerned has already left the country, that being so, what our vigilance is doing? Is the nation and the Army not vigilant enough in this war against corruption. We have to work on war footing to get rid of this menace which is eroding the foundations of socio-economic life of pakistani nation.

As a member of Federal Anti Corruption Committee (FACC) I had also investigated the case of Tawakal Group in which billion of rupees were siphoned off by this group in collaboration of the bank executives through fake paper shipments. The new banking law authorized the banks to file criminal cases against the defaulters, yet every thing went into the cold storage because of the influence of the thieves on the democratic setup and the banks signed compromise decrees under political pressure. The banks and DFI’s should make it public as to what amounts have so far been recovered in connection thereof.

Probable our rulers have taken a leaf out of Japans book, where a jail is not the ultimate end of a criminal act and here in our case we have given it the fair name of business friendly act, but surely all that glitters is not gold. The payment of Rs. 1.5 billion over a period of eight and half years is a tall order. “Kooan Jeeta Haiy Terri Zulfoon Key Ser Honay Taak.” The net recovery for the nation would be from Sultan Lakhani on the face of it a sum of rupees 10 crore only and surely he has fleeced the nation for much larger amount. Tax evaders are a perpetual parasite eating into the national structure and should be dealt with accordingly. Are we making hey only while the sun shines?

All such deals by National Accountability Bureau leads to one question whether the law is same for rich and the poor or it is different for the two sets of people. It would be a misfortune if the law is different for the two sets of people, prima facie only the rich would be benefited by the new approach of National Accountability Bureau. The poorer lot will suffer under the grinding wheels of law administered by the vigilant monitoring cell of the Army. People like Sharif’s, Tawakals, Lakhanis, the swindlers of cooperative and finance companies and such other lot should be stripped naked and no concessions of time and money should be given to them. Surely after such arrangements they will play their game again, they have no regard for the nation and the country; rather such parasites should be eliminated. The nation would back the rulers.

Accountability, freedom of information leading to transparency is the hallmark of good governance. The government should not take cover behind confidentiality on national issues. Transparency and across the board accountability is the demand of good governance. The National Accountability Bureau is also accountable to the nation and they should rise to ally the suspicions mentioned above.

The basic principle of law is that it is never a respecter of persons, killer of King Faisal in Saudi Arabia was himself a member of the royal family and he also was beheaded like a commoner. The purview of the business friendly facilities extended to Nawaz Sharif and swindlers of cooperatives and finance companies scams may also be extended to the lower echelon of criminals in order to meet the demand of the principle of law. Justice should not only be done; it should also appear to be done.

Mr. Ali Ashraf Khan is a Pakistani Businessman and Ex-Politician who bid good bye to politics in order to concentrate on more useful service benefit of the political intrigues prevalent in the National Political life of Pakistan. He frequently writes for English and Urdu newspapers in Pakistan.

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