The marriage of prudence between Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party seems to be over. The days where the parties stood side by side in the parliament while hordes of protesters besieged the building seem a distant memory. The exchange of barbs in the National Assembly is just a symptom; the real deal – one that mandated both parties to look the other way over alleged impropriety– has come off the rails.

On the insistence of PML-N members, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has decided to examine transparency in the award of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) quotas to a firm being run by former senators of the Pakistan People’s Party and its board of directors, including former ISI chief retired Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

The allegations are dated to 1988, when 50 percent of Adhi field was allocated to WAK Gas. The company was owned by former senators Gulzar Ahmed Khan, Waqar Ahmed Khan and Ammar Ahmed – which later went on to employ the ISI chief as an advisor immediately after his retirement. The facts make it worth investigating, as abuse of power can be construed on a prima facie reading of the case. Similarly, the award of LPG quota from JJVL was challenged in the Supreme Court in 2011 by the PML-N who alleged that the quota had been awarded in a non-transparent manner. The beneficiaries of the JJVL LPG quota included close aides to Gen Pervez Musharraf, several politicians, retired military officers and wife of a senior lawyer-cum-politician of the PPP Atizaz Ahsan. Another promising case, another prominent PPP target.

While no one would abject to more transparency and extended investigations into allegations of corruption, the motives of the PAC are suspect. It did nothing to investigate either of these cases, despite the fact it had ample time to do so – 28 years in the case of the Adhi field award. It ‘decided’ to investigate when rigorous political mudslinging required more ammunition of mud.

This tit-for-tat transparency drives and the sudden flurry of activity by watchdog organisations shows how completely these organisations are controlled by the whims of the political overlords. Instead of checking politicians for the benefit of politicians the PAC – and other bodies like it, such as the NAB and FIA – only probe politicians at the behest of other politicians.

The fact that political misdeeds will at long last be exposed is not a silver lining anymore. If the initiative of these organisations is shaped by political reasons, its investigation and its results would be equally biased.