Clearance Darrow a famous American lawyer of the early 20th century once said that history repeats itself, and that’s one of the things that’s wrong with history. What Darrow said seems appropriate in case of former President Asif Ali Zardari who has once again been arrested as history keeps repeating itself. Accountability process is not new to Pakistan’s political landscape however the need of having a true and transparent accountability process has always been felt. Zardari’s arrest by the National Accountability Bureau has given rise to several speculations by political observers regarding the political landscape of the country. It is generally believed that the NAB is under pressure after an attempt was made to blackmail its chairman. Some observers see Zardari’s arrest as one small step in the right direction while others question the aptness of the accountability process. One opinion suggests that unless a true and transparent accountability process is not carried out nothing substantial can be achieved by arresting accused political leaders every now and then. This assertion is based on the fact that accountability processes had previously been carried out by President Ayub Khan, General Zia Ul Haq and Pervez Musharraf. The slow accountability processes of the past despite initially holding the accused accountable later provided them the much needed cover up to strengthen these respective regimes. However, with PTI’s government in power it is expected that this time accountability process will be transparent, swift and substantial. Many people question why has Zardari been arrested alone when the court had also issued the orders of Sister Faryal Talpur’s arrest. According to news sources the NAB has so far been unable to produce any substantial evidence against Zardari who is accused of mega money laundering. In light of this evidence it is believed that the government does not want to push the opposition (PPP) against the wall fearing that it may join Molana Fazal-ur- Rehman’ s camp. The government at this point certainly cannot afford to see opposition supporters to pour into the streets. Therefore it is speculated that Nawaz Sharif’s bail on medical grounds might get accepted. The present government’s attempt to stop any possible protest by the opposition forces is contrary to its claim of one day facilitating the opposition in its sit in protest. However, in case of Zardari one opinion suggests that the present government might want to see Zardari get convicted before 31st December so he gets disqualified for the next elections. Some believe that both Sharif and Zardari should be pushed aside in favor of Maryam and Bilawal who are still in a good standing as compared to their respective fathers. It seems convincing that since both the political parties are not in a position to protest against the government. Therefore Zardari’s arrest will have no significant bearing on the political landscape of the country. Nonetheless one view suggests that the opposition parties are looking for the right opportunity to strike back at the government who has been unable to provide relief to the general public. Therefore the opposition parties are waiting to take advantage of the expected public resentment owing to new taxes and so forth so on. In light of this theory PM Imran Khan will only be able to carry out his accountability mission if the government is able to mend the economy. The opposition parties can get the popular support if the government is unable to improve the economy at a faster pace. It is believed that the opposition forces, Molana Fazal –ur – Rehman and the lawyers disenchantment with the leadership can pose a serious threat to the government. The fact that nothing has ever been proved against Asif Ali Zardari who has acquired for himself the title Mr. 10% suggests the inability of our judicial system. It is obviously true that Zardari’s arrest will raise the question why is the rule of law only restricted to opposition’s accountability. Therefore the present government needs to carry out a fair and transparent accountability process. It is believed that the present government’s accountability process has a certain degree of revenge since both Sharif and Zardari have been excluded from the amnesty scheme. The government not only is faced with the challenge of improving the economy but also needs to build strong evidence against Zardari. It is feared that the disenchanted lawyers can provide a great opportunity to the political parties accused of looting the nation’s wealth. Therefore, the government needs to act prudently in all matters so that a transparent and flawless accountability process is carried out for the betterment of the country.
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