Challenges In Accountability in Pakistan
Corruption is one of the biggest problems of Pakistan that is not only hampering its pace of progress but it also has paralyzed the major institutions of the country. According to the Transparency International report of 2017, Pakistan is ranked as 117 most corrupted state out of 180 countries. One of the major reasons behind this high rate of corruption in the country is the lack of proper and judicious system of accountability. Some other similar problems are money laundering, tax alleviation and hoarding of money. Over the past seven decades since the independence of Pakistan, the political leaders of the country have always entrusted the authority of those institutions that are responsible for tax collection and corruption alleviation to such people who were mere puppets.
Though the new government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan has given free hand to these institutions and has aimed at the strengthening of the practice of accountability in the country but still there are some major challenges in this regard that they faces. Some of these challenges have been pointed out below.
(1) Targeted Accountability
The practice of targeted accountability has been used in the past as a tool for targeting a specific person or family or a faction. Such practice has not only destroyed the true essence of the system of accountability but it also has led to the formation of group-ism in the institutions. This whole practice has suffered the country in the long terms.
In the same way some political factions of the country, even today, are blaming the institutions for biasness and conducting targeted accountability in the country. If this is true, the government should take immediate notice of the issue and resolve it as this practice will never strengthen the system of accountability in the country.
(2) Failing in Recovery of Total Stolen Money
Another major challenge in accountability is the failure of institutions to recover the stolen money. This problem is mainly due to the poor structure and system of investigation and recovery. Due to periodic intervention by the political leaders in the working of these institutions, over the past seven decades, our institutions could not strengthen and developed an active and efficient system of investigation and recovery.
(3) Lack of Political Will
The lack of political will of the leaders is another major challenge to the system of accountability in the country. The political leaders of the country are affecting the work of these institutions in many ways such as blaming the head of these institutions for being biasness and political in their work. Similarly some political leaders have often been found opposing any increase in the power of these institutions. Likewise they also sometimes opposed the passage of such laws that may strengthen the working structure of these institutions.
(4) Weak Accountability Institutions
Some major institutions that are responsible for accountability of the people of the country and collecting tax are National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Anti-Corruption Departments and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). The weak administration structure of these institutions is also one of the major challenges in accountability process in the country.
(5) Hindrance in Legislations
Oppositions by some of the corrupt political leaders in the National Assembly and Senate to the passage of such laws that may strengthen these institutions and increase their area of investigation is also one of the major challenges to accountability in the country.
(6) Concentration of Power In Few Hands
Similarly the concentration of power in few hands is another major challenge. In Pakistan, the power to run the country is not equally divided among the institutions. Due to this reason most of the time we have observed that the working of accountability institutions is often affected by other most powerful institutions.
(7) Spiritless Opposition
The role of an opposition in the political system of a country is to look closely at the functioning of the government and to stop the government from the misuse of any sort of power and authority. But unfortunately in Pakistan, the opposition role has always been observed as spiritless and indifferent.
(8) Corrupt Bureaucracy
Some scholars and political analysts also blame the bureaucracy of the country for poor system of accountability in the country. According to them the bureaucracy of the country has often been found serving the interests of some political parties rather than the interest of state at large.