NAB law amended to cover up PTI govt’s corruption: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi alleged on Thursday that the amended National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) has been designed to cover up the incumbent government’s embezzlement.
Addressing the media, Abbasi shared that National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) powers have been reduced under the amended ordinance. He claimed that the anti-corruption watchdog can no longer raise questions on the appointment of corrupt people in institutions.
“Following the amendment, the accountability watchdog will not be able to ask about tax evasion and hiding of assets. It will also not be able to question the 700 people named in the Pandora Papers,” alleged the PML-N leader.
The former prime minister claimed that the amendment prevents NAB from investigating medicine and oil price hike scandals, import of the world’s most expensive LNG and robberies of ministers.
Terming the ordinance “malicious” and a “black law”, he alleged the amendment would cripple the bureau from interrogating the billions embezzled in the wheat and sugar crisis, neither would it be able to probe the decisions made by the federal cabinet.
Meanwhile, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal criticised the government for not consulting the opposition before promulgating the NAO 2021.
Javed Iqbal to remain NAB chief
The government and the opposition have been at odds over the appointment of the next NAB chairman. However, a day earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi promulgated the amended National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 2021 that paved way for former Justice Javed Iqbal to remain NAB chairman.
The ordinance allows the current NAB chairman to remain in his post until his 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.
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