LAHORE - Five accountability courts working in the provincial capital could decide only 26 corruption cases during the whole year, which amply reflects the ‘efficiency’ of the system aimed at purging the society of corruption.

The details gathered by The Nation show the average disposal of each NAB court remained about five cases during the year. There are still 153 references pending before the courts which were 156 in the beginning of the year. In 2015, total 89 fresh cases were instituted before the NAB courts.

The NAB courts’ officials say there are 37 cases pending before Accountability Court No. 1, 38 before Accountability Court No 2, 40 in the court No 3 and 38 cases are lying pending before NAB Court No 4. The court No 5 has yet to deal with 30 pending cases.

On other side, huge public money is being spent on the working of these courts. Every single judge of the NAB court is paid around Rs 200,000 as salary besides other perks and privileges, including two gunmen, a house, a car and free medical treatment. Similarly, the NAB officials get huge salaries and enjoy other facilities, but there is no change in sight to grab the corrupt.

The cases of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), forex and those related to the scandal of the Bank of Punjab are still lingering on. The main reason behind pending cases and long delay is the lethargic attitude of National Accountability Bureau’s officials, the sources in the courts told this scribe.

The investigation officers do not appear before the courts and use delaying tactics when they are required to record their statements, said an official seeking anonymity. He said the situation of the prosecution could easily be assessed by this attitude of IOs. For instance, he said, NAB Investigation Officer Rafi was repeatedly asked to appear before the court in Chaudhry Sadiq case, an NRO reference, but it took one month to him to appear before the court.

He said the cases related to Forex scandal had also been lying pending since 2003 and the main reason behind it is the failure of the NAB officials to produce witnesses before the courts on time.

However, the sources said, there is a technical issue regarding the overwhelming number of witnesses that the NAB officials understand well and can handle better.

And that technical issue is that a reference as compared with other cases, including civil and criminal, is very much different in terms of witnesses. In a reference, hundreds of witnesses are required to give testimony contrary to the civil and criminal nature of cases where three or four witnesses or sometime one or two witnesses are considered sufficient to prove a case. See

The sources gave an example of Shahid Hassan Awan case in which there were 1,500 witnesses and more than 300 had record their evidence before the court. They said such number of witnesses was sufficient to prove the case, but still the 1,200 witnesses are to be presented before the court. It took the officials 12 years to produce 300 witnesses before the courts.

They said the NAB authorities hesitate to ask the courts to rely on the statements of such a large number of people whose statements are sufficient for a trial and to do not produce the rest in the courts for evidence. There would be no change unless a comprehensive policy to monitor the NAB authorities is framed to improve the courts’ working, they added.

Talking to The Nation, Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Azhar Siddique Advocate said that National Judicial Policy applies to the NAB courts. He said the judges of the NAB courts have also authority to summon the NAB DG and other officials to ensure the timely presence of witnesses and production of cases’ record.