“It is not merely of some importance, but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done”
Lord Chief Justice Hewart.
Above quoted is a very famous, oft repeated, statement of Lord Chief Justice Hewart made in R vs. Sussex, Ex party McCarthy in 1924. The statement is very frequently repeated by Judges in all jurisdictions of the world. In Pakistan too, it is often repeated in verbatim, yet rarely seen to hold any force.
On Wednesday, the 21st of December, 2016 however, the fortunate country of Pakistan did see justice being done when a corrupt public official faced the ultimate retribution for his crimes. Mr. Mushtaq Raisani, Ex-Secretary Finance, Government of Balochistan was apprehended by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the 6th of May, 2016. A huge stash of cash was recovered from his residence. After keeping him in custody and investigating the case for over 7 months, NAB has managed to make an example out of Mr. Raisani.
Mr. Raisani will face a three tiered penal action;
- First, he will have to pay an amount of around 2 Billion rupees which is approximately 5 percent of his estimated wealth accumulated through illegal means (Rs. 40 Billion an estimate given by NAB). Now this poor man will have to live the rest of his life on a scanty wealth of just 38 billion rupees. Probably below (an imaginary) poverty line. His future generation will suffer the consequences of Raisani’s actions. What if he, or his children, wanted to buy a country? Raisani’s dream of spending 40 billion rupees has been shattered, thanks to the exemplary reprimand meted out to him by our legal system.
The soft hearted lot of you must be thinking the above punishment is more than enough. Hold your breath, for there is more. Sometimes you have to be harsh in actions against criminals so as to create a deterrent.
- In addition to giving up 5 percent of his wealth, Mr. Raisani will also be -*drum roll*- disqualified from seeking a public office. Yes, his days of being a government servant are over. No official vehicle, no office with Jinnah’s picture on the wall, no salary or free travelling.
And as if this wasn’t enough, there’s more still.
- The last tier of this magnificent retribution; Mr. Raisani cannot apply for, or obtain a loan from a bank. You can’t miss the beauty of adding this provision into his “sentence”. In case Raisani planned on realizing his dream of spending 40 billion rupees by obtaining a loan for 2 billion, it ends here. Take that you criminal, vile, corrupt person; no loans for you. Some may think Raisani is in a position to give loans, and not obtain them, but that’s not how NAB sees him. The inability to obtain loans will haunt him for the rest of his life spent in any country of his choosing, in his mansion or villa with toilets made of gold.
Where is the deterrent you wonder? Well the corrupt have been sent a clear message; when being corrupt, go all the way, don’t hold back. Forget thousands and millions, go for billions and we guarantee you a safe journey and exit.
“Justice should not only be not done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be not done”.
The severity of his punishment so justly matches the gravity of his crimes. The money that he embezzled could only have been used to make hospitals in Balochistan. Thousands of lives could have been saved, but weren’t because this guy “needed” money. Millions of children could have been educated. Better equipment and resources could have been obtained for law enforcement agencies. Orphaned children, poor citizens, homeless, unfed could have been looked after with substantial welfare projects, but Mr. Raisani had better use of the money.
Balochistan suffers for a million causes, and Mr. Raisani appears to be a significant one of them. And thus he faced the wrath of justice. Praise be to NAB, praise be to the visionary leaders and legislators who provided for glorious retributions like plea bargain and praise be to all who came after them and agree with their rationale.
”Indeed, those who devour the property of orphans unjustly are only consuming into their bellies fire. And they will be burned in a Blaze.”
(chapter 4 , verse 10 , Quran )
”And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful]’
( chapter 2 , verse 188 , Quran )
NAB did not make the NAB ordinance that provides for plea bargain, NAB ordinance governs NAB.
Raisani is by no means an isolated case, there are hundreds, if not thousands like him. Many roaming freely – some in positions of influence – for reasons other than plea bargain. There are then the millions who are Mushtaq Raisani at a much smaller scale, yet equally vile and corrupt; opportunity being the only difference between them and the big fish.
If the law and leaders fail to control corruption, instead seem to encourage it, what recourse does the common man have?