Javed Iqbal to remain NAB chief after promulgation of ordinance
LAHORE: Former Justice Javed Iqbal will continue working as NAB chairman after President Dr Arif Alvi promulgated the amended National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 2021.
The ordinance states that the current NAB chairman will remain in his post until a successor is appointed. The appointment by the president for NAB chairman will be done after consultations are held between the prime minister and leader of the opposition.
“However, if there is no consensus, then the president will refer the matter to a parliamentary committee,” reads the ordinance. The committee shall consist of 12 members and will be formed by the National Assembly speaker.
Under the ordinance, the procedure for re-appointment will be the same, but chairman NAB can be removed just like the judges of the Supreme Court.
President empowered to appoint accountability judges
The ordinance empowers the president to set up accountability courts in the country as much as he wants. He has also been empowered to appoint accountability court judges in consultation with the concerned chief justices. The judges will have a three-year term limit under the new law.
The amendment also stops NAB from intervening in federal, provincial and local taxation matters. Similarly, decisions of federal and provincial cabinets, committees and sub-committees will not fall under the jurisdiction of NAB.
The ordinance states that the decisions of the Council of Common Interests, NEC, NFC, ECNEC, CDWP, PDWP will also be outside the purview of the anti-corruption watchdog.
PM not to consult Shehbaz Sharif
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Law Minister Farogh Naseem and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry clarified that Prime Minister Imran Khan will not hold any consultation with Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on the appointment of new NAB chairman.
“President, being a neutral person, would consult with the opposition leader, as well as PM to develop any consensus over a name. PM [Imran Khan] will not consult the matter directly with Shehbaz Sharif,” the law minister clarified.
The law minister said that it was incorrectly being reported that he and the information minister had a different stance on the matter.
The law minister said that after consultation, a name may be agreed for the NAB chairman.
“If the consultations fail, a parliamentary committee will be formed having representation of the government as well as of the opposition to decide upon the matter,” said Nasim.
Explaining the proposed amendments, Nasim said that the government had agreed to give the option of bail in NAO.
“Now, an accountability court will have jurisdiction to grant bail to the accused. Likewise, the deadline regarding the conclusion of trials in NAB cases would be extended from 30 days to six months,” he added.
On the other hand, Fawad Chaudhry said that Shehbaz should withdraw his name from the consultation process and instead propose any other name from the opposition benches to fulfil the mandatory provision of the law.
“If Shehbaz Sharif had a degree of shame he would resign as opposition leader himself,” said Fawad.
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