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President’s power to remove NAB chief comes under harsh criticism

03 Nov, 2021
The third amendment ordinance wouldbe applicable from October 6. File photo
The third amendment ordinance wouldbe applicable from October 6. File photo

By Fazal Sher

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior vice president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on Tuesday, said the authorisation of the president under the National Accountability (third amendment) Ordinance 2021, to remove chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from his office, means that whenever, the anti-graft body chief did not follow the instructions of the president he would show him the door.

Talking to reporters after appearing before the Accountability Court in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) case against him and others, he said the government had amended an ordinance, which it had promulgated on October 6, and which had not even been laid before the parliament.

According to the third amendment ordinance, it would also be applicable from October 6, he said, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ministers did not know how to make laws.

He said the president was given the authority to remove the NAB chairman anytime.

“The new ordinance will not be applied over the government corruption and corrupt practices,” he said.

Abbasi had earlier stated that the government had issued new ordinance with “a mala fide intent” in order to save the corrupt in the ranks of the present government.

The issuance of the National Accountability (third amendment) Ordinance, 2021 had further proved the ill-intention of the government, he said.

Abbasi sarcastically asked the prime minister to issue an ordinance that the NAB ordinance would be applied only over the PML-N and would not apply to anyone else.

He alleged that Rs70 out of the Rs120 per kg price of sugar, and Rs47 out of Rs80 per kg price of wheat were going into the pockets of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his ministers.

He said that under the NAB law its chairman and officers were immune from whatever the wrongdoings they committed.

The NAB chairman and officers should also keep it in mind that the immunity they could avail under a law could also be abolished through an ordinance in future, he said.

About dialogue with Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), he said the government had proscribed an organisation and then held negotiation with the same group as well as did not public the agreement reached with banned organisation.

According to our information as many as 30 people including policemen and protesters were martyred during the protest march.

Who is responsible for it? he asked.

To another question, he said if the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) played any role in the negotiation with the TLP then he would know better what he did and why he did it.

“But question arises that how can you negotiate with a banned organisation and what answer you will give to the world,” he said.

Earlier, he and other accused appeared before Accountability Court-II Judge Muhammad Azam Khan in the LNG case against him and others.

At the start of the hearing, defence counsel Barrister Zafarullah Khan informed the court that the government had issued the National Accountability (third amendment) Ordinance 2021.

Is this gazette ordinance? the judge asked.

Khan replied that the ordinance had not yet been published in the Gazette of Pakistan but the ordinance issued was attested.

“So far, it is not in our knowledge that the released ordinance is genuine or fake,” he said.

On this, the judge said that at that point there was no need to examine that (copy of third amendment) document. Abbasi’s counsel said the government after hearing our arguments issued another ordinance.

The court observed that the third NAB amendment ordinance has so far not been published in Gazette of Pakistan and adjourned hearing of the case till November 9.

This article first appeared in Business Recorder