NAB amendment ordinance 2021 challenged in Lahore High Court

LAHORE: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Amendment Bill 2021 has been challenged in Lahore High Court (LHC) today (Saturday).

According to details, Advocate Ishtiaq A Khan submitted the petition in the high court wherein it was maintained that the Parliament reserves the right of making laws and that no amendment in law can be made to facilitate one person.

He added that in the presence of the Parliament, the body who prepares laws, the president has no right to promulgate the ordinance.

Federal government and others have been made a party in the plea.  

Earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi had promulgated NAB Amendment Ordinance 2021 paving the way to extend the tenure of anti-graft watchdog.

Later, addressing a joint news conference along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Minister for Law, Farogh Nasim said the President of Pakistan will appoint Chairman National Accountability Bureau after consultation with the Leader of the House and Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly.

Farogh Nasim said the government is bringing in a presidential ordinance to introduce some amendments in the NAB laws for more transparency and clarity.

He said the matter will be referred to a parliamentary committee to be constituted by the Speaker National Assembly with equal representation from the treasury and the opposition benches if the consultation with the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader does not remain consensus-oriented. He said a provision has been inserted in the new ordinance deleting the word non-extendable.

The law minister said now the current and retired chairmen of NAB, with new names will be considered for their appointment as the next Chief of the anti-corruption watchdog. He said it will enhance the pool for the selection of the NAB chairman.

He said that the current Chairman will continue to perform his duties till the appointment of a regular NAB chief and he will enjoy full powers as a regular chairman can have.

Farogh Nasim said that the Supreme Judicial Council will be the forum to remove the NAB chief in case of any misconduct.

The Law Minister said that role of the NAB Prosecutor General is being enhanced in the new ordinance to take an independent opinion on a case to ensure fairness. He said the Prosecutor General will advise the NAB Chairman to continue or withdraw an investigation on substantial grounds.

Farogh Nasim said the Supreme Court had directed to enhance the number of existing NAB courts to 90 for which a large pool for selection of judges was required.

He said under the changed framework, retired district and additional district judges and serving or retired special courts judges, provided their age is less than 68 years, can be appointed as NAB courts judges in consultation of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Farogh Nasim said bureaucracy, private persons, and the business community has been excluded from the ambit of NAB and now FBR will deal all tax-related matters. He said procedural lapse on part of the bureaucracy, with no illegal monetary gains, have been excluded from NAB s purview.

He said that NAB will require prior permission of the Governor of State Bank for proceeding against the decisions taken by the banks and other financial institutions.

Raja Furqan Ahmed

Raja Furqan Ahmed is the News Editor of The Pakistan Daily.

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