Combating corruption in Pakistan is not an easy task. The issue has haunted our nation since its birth. It is the cause of all evils and systematic failure in our country. It is when those in power shamelessly compromise on merit, and when inefficiency and nepotism receive patronage from those in power. The tragic part of this culture of incompetence is that, sadly, the younger generations joining public service are either divested of their idealism and honest desire to perform or else are side-lined into meaningless dead-end desk jobs. Ultimately, as a result, many of them are eventually seduced by corruption around them, for joining the herd is always the easier way out. However, the recent decision by Pakistan’s main anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), to file criminal charges against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and present Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, marks a fresh chapter in the country’s history. This follows the July 28 decision by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, which dismissed Sharif as prime minister, following more than a year-long trial that was triggered by revelations of large-scale offshore wealth belonging to the former prime minister’s three children. There is no doubt that this current wave of accountability, which has been unleashed by NAB alongside the Supreme Court of Pakistan, has set the right tone and is definitely a game changer in the history of Pakistani politics Several critics of the decision argued that this was selective accountability. However, later their claims that across the board accountability was not being observed were proven wrong when the Supreme Court summoned on Wednesday details of foreign assets of former presidents Asif Ali Zardari and General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in the NRO case. Not to forget the high-profile arrest of Sharif’s principal secretary and Civil Services Academy (CSA) Director General Fawad Hassan Fawad for his supposed involvement in Rs 14 billion Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam. There is no doubt that this current wave of accountability, which has been unleashed by NAB alongside the Supreme Court of Pakistan, has set the right tone and is definitely a game changer in the history of Pakistani politics. This is extremely essential, not just for the reasons of symbolism, but much more than that. More importantly, it is the right step that will send a message to ordinary Pakistanis that the space for individuals accused of corruption is now much tighter and stricter than ever before particularly across the echelons of the ruling structure. Similarly, the fight against this menace of corruption will be strengthened if the institution of the ombudsman is also replicated across all the districts of Pakistan. For the general public, having full access to an institution where complaints of corruption are admitted without discrimination and later also pursued for an investigation, will definitely mark a vast change from today’s environment. the time is ripe for Pakistan to focus on the eradication of corruption and nepotism, because that is what fuels the widespread poverty and in turn, generates a never-ending stream of recruits for the organised crime-terrorism nexus that remains an existential threat In addition to boosting the public’s confidence, such positive steps will also lift the quality of the environment that is needed for businesses across Pakistan. Having said that, allow me to highlight some crucial reforms that are much needed at this stage. These must begin with enforcing Pakistan’s tax laws much more tightly and vigorously on evaders all across the country without any compromise. Other areas where change is needed include those institutions where there is direct public involvement including the police, municipal and administrative authorities across the districts, utility service providers, notably those responsible for supplying electricity and gas, government run hospitals and last but not the least, government-run schools. This obvious link between the increasing prevalence of corruption and its eventual impact on ordinary Pakistanis calls for urgent measures for course correction across the board. Despite claims by political opponents that the growing impetus for accountability of civilian politicians is yet another conspiracy to weaken the democratic dispensation in Pakistan, nearly all such known cases have already passed through the requisite judicial processes. Indeed, the time is ripe for Pakistan to focus on the eradication of corruption and nepotism, because that is what fuels the widespread poverty and in turn, generates a never-ending stream of recruits for the organised crime-terrorism nexus that remains an existential threat. The events during the past few weeks are certainly headed in the right direction for a political landmark in the nation’s chapter. The writer is currently practicing as an Associate Lawyer at Legal Liaison, (Advocates, Advisors and Consultants). Graduated with and LLB Hons from the University of London International Programmes. Interests include writing and debate. Twitter: @fizzaalik Published in Daily Times, July 17th 2018.