PTI’s debt collector

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  • Now with a lot of egg on his face

 

Every political party in Pakistan has a core issue around which its election campaign revolves and for the PTI it was unrelenting accountability that would ‘bring back looted wealth to the country’. This resonated with the party’s base so much that, despite little to no success in repatriation of those stolen and exported ‘millions of dollars’, still believes the country will see some that money, eventually. Former Finance Minister and de facto Prime Minister in the PML-N’s government, Ishaq Dar, has been public enemy number one in this respect, primarily- unlike his party’s leader and others- because he is unwilling to come back to Pakistan and face the cases against him. In 2018 the FIA under PTI government had approached Interpol to issue a red warrant for Dar’s arrest. A few months back this year, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar claimed that British authorities had agreed to extradite former finance minister Ishaq Dar to Pakistan under a memorandum of understanding. Britain immediately informed Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi that it would not sign any extradition treaty with Pakistan that could be used for politically-motivated cases, leaving a lot of egg on the government’s face. What is more, Interpol yesterday gave Dar a clean chit, refusing to issue any red warrant and to delete all data files on the latter from their system. Dar, who lives in London now, gave evidence to Interpol that was found satisfactory meaning that the case made and presented by the Pakistan government against him was too weak to act upon.

Domestically, some of the cases against opposition leaders being pursued by NAB also remain on weak footing as the prosecution either lacks the evidence, the competence to effectively argue its case or both. It is high time the PTI- employing the help of unelected ineffective ‘special assistants’- stop with the gimmickry for political point scoring. If it believes in true accountability it should first make it an across the board process that is transparent. Pursuing dead-end cases to deliver on undeliverable promises is a waste of the government’s time and resources that can be better spent elsewhere.