Government introduces NAB amendments in light of superior court judgments: Justice Minister – Pakistan



The Minister of Justice said the government had taken the decision to change the NAB laws in the best interest of the people.

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Federal Law and Justice Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar said on Tuesday that the government had introduced changes to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Order 1999 in light of judgments announced by the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

Addressing a press conference, the minister said former prime minister Imran Khan had announced he would challenge the amendment in the supreme court; the government welcomed his initiative as it had taken the decision to change the NAB laws in the best interests of the people and the country, which would restore human dignity and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution.

He said the interpretation of the NAB laws and some procedural changes were made in the amendments. He said the National Assembly passed the NAB Amendment Bill after a long four-hour debate as different Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) tabled their individual motions to insert amendments into the NAB ordinance.

When the president returned the bill despite passing the Senate with advice and a message that some clauses needed to be reconsidered, the government carefully read and discussed the president’s advice with legal experts and responded to some of his objections.

He said the President had no objection on 70% of the amendments while he suggested reviewing 20-25% amendments while 5-10% were procedural in nature. The president’s concerns were addressed in the joint session of parliament.

Denying the printing of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) by removing the jurisdiction of the NAB over development projects, cabinet decisions, National Economic Council Executive Committee (ECNEC) decisions, Coordinating Committee decisions economic (ECC), tax issues, the Minister clarified that most of these changes were introduced by the PTI government through an ordinance that has lapsed.

He said that not only civil society and officials have raised objections, but the courts have also made serious observations about the NAB laws and the general public opinion is also against the NAB law.

The Minister of Justice said people’s rights would be ruined if the accountability watchdog continued to fulfill its duty with existing laws. He said the country’s economic scenario would have changed if these laws had been changed 10 years ago. This law was introduced by a dictator and should have been amended by political parties over time but they did not. If these amendments had been introduced in time, the political and economic landscape would have been different, he added.

He said most of these amendments were introduced by the PTI government through an order in November 2021. But the government did not agree with some of the amendments introduced by the PTI, such as the appointment of retired judges as judges of the responsible courts. serving as district and session judges in the high courts. And the position of NAB president should not be extendable, he added.

Further, the Vice President should act as the President of the NAB in full capacity during his leave or absence, this amendment would strengthen the institution to exercise even during the absence of a President.

He said the courts in their judgments had repeatedly stated that the initial burden of proof would be on the prosecution, as it was also included in Islamic law and a common law principle.

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