LAHORE -  Though, successive governments insist they are committed to eliminating corruption, yet the performance of the accountability courts for the past many years do not show that they came up to the people’s expectations.

As many as 250 cases have been pending with five accountability courts for years, some of which involving 1500 to 2000 victims in the provincial capital. The first Forex scam took place in 2008 but despite lapse of many years, the victims could not get justice as the prosecution still has been busy in producing witnesses since then.

According to sources, no effective mechanism has been devised by the authorities concerned for early disposal of cases. The sources said that NAB officials too do not produce witnesses in courts which cause inordinate delay in dispensation of justice.

Section 16 (a) of NAB Ordinance 1999 says, “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force an accused shall be prosecuted for an offence under this Ordinance in the Court and the case shall be heard from day to day and shall be disposed of within thirty days”.

The law is clear that the cases constituted before the NAB courts should be decided within 30 days. While other section of the same law emphasizes that there should be a mechanism for timely disposing the cases.

Section 17 (c) of NAB Ordinance 1999 says, “Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (a) or sub-section (b) or in any law for the time being in force, the court may, for reasons to be recorded, dispense with any provision of the Code and follow such procedure as it may deem fit in the circumstances of the case.”

There are total 10 accountability courts in Punjab including five in Lahore, four in Rawalpindi and one in Multan but two courts are not functioning in Rawalpindi, the sources added. They say that average 50 cases are lying pending with every court at judicial complex of the provincial capital. Comparatively, they say, the average of pending cases is high than the previous years. In 2014, the average 25 cases were pending in these courts and similarly in the following years, they say.

They further say that staff shortage at NAB courts is another factor that causes delay in disposal of cases. The sources say that mostly the influential suspects are tried by these courts and when they come to appear before the courts in provincial capital they use telephones, laptops during their custody outside the courtrooms and there is no judicial lockup to keep them there. They enjoy gossip with families and friends, giving an impression that damages the sanctity of the courts just outside the courtroom, said the sources. By their behavior and attitude, the seriousness of the NAB authorities could easily be gauged, they add.