ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Amendment Ordinance, Senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced to challenge it in the court, and the Senate.
Speaking to the media in the capital on Tuesday, the former premier said that the government brought the new NAB ordinance without consultation with the opposition parties.
“The government wants to give an extension to NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal only,” said Abbasi, adding that the government was also trying to stifle the opposition through the NAB chairman.
PML-N stalwart slammed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and said, the country’s economy was being destroyed, but neither the Prime Minister nor the ministers care.
Instead of focussing on eradicating inflation and unemployment from the country, the government’s was centred on protecting their wrongdoings through the NAB ordinance, he added.
“We will decide about our future course of action in the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) October 18 meeting,” he said.
The PML-N leader also hinted at approaching the Pakistan People’s Party as, according to Abbasi, PPP may not be a part of the PDM, but it was in the opposition and consultations were done with opposition parties on important matters.
Javed Iqbal to remain NAB chief
The government and the opposition have been at odds over the appointment of the next NAB chairman. However, last week, President Dr Arif Alvi promulgated the amended National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 2021 and paved the way for Justice 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.