ISLAMABAD: The main opposition parties have taken the possible amendments proposed by the federal law minister with a pinch of salt and say they will reflect on the changes only after they are formally presented for discussion.
“A mere mosaic in the National Responsibility Ordinance (NAO) will be inconsequential to carry out a general responsibility of all segments of society,” said former Senate president and main leader of the People’s Party of Pakistan (PPP) Rab Rabbani to The News when contacted for comments on the reported amendments. He said there has to be a law, a court, an agency and a uniform trial to deal with corruption cases and corrupt practices. This whole process can receive any nomenclature.
Rabbani said that if the peers were empowered to carry out the accountability of their colleagues in the bureaucracy, the judiciary and other institutions, why not a parliamentary committee should do this work when it comes to complaints against members of parliament? “Why should there be discretionary and preferential treatment just for them?”
For a long time, the senior politician said, the government is talking about making changes in the NAO and has discussed them with the opposition but in a little enthusiastic way. “Not only me, but the opposition as a whole, I will be able to give your answer only after the amendments are presented to us in a concrete way. Now, when the government itself feels the heat of the NAO, it wants to make the changes it chooses without considering the opposition. “
He said everyone knew that the ruling coalition was not in a position to get the changes in the NAO approved by parliament, particularly in the Senate, because it has no numerical strength and has to speak with the opposition to develop a consensus. otherwise, your effort would prove useless. “If a presidential ordinance was issued as indicated by the law minister, it will be of short duration.”
Rabbani did not believe in the sincerity of the law minister in erasing the draconian clauses of the NAO and said he has to demonstrate with solid actions and proposals that he really wants this statute to be a normal law.
When approached, the secretary general of the Pakistan-Nawaz Muslim League (PML-N), Ahsan Iqbal, told The News that the government has so far not contacted the opposition to discuss changes in the NAO. He also stressed that there should be a responsibility that encompasses everything and that no particular class should be subject to political considerations.
He said it would be necessary to see whether or not the government has inserted the amendments suggested by the opposition during the talks, which have been aborted for a long time. “In the new discussions between the two parties, if they are carried out, it would be emphasized that the opposition’s proposals should be incorporated into the package to make the NAO an acceptable law rather than a tool to hit political rivals.” Ahsan Iqbal said that regardless of their category, all defendants have constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights, which cannot be denied. “If public officials are being excluded from the competence of the National Responsibility Office (NAB), why not also politicians?”
However, the PML-N leader approved the threshold increase to Rs 500 million from the alleged corruption involved that the NAB can lead to the investigation. “The record shows that the NAB has gotten into small cases of bad practices.”
He rejected the proposal to form a committee by the prime minister to approve the voluntary return or the plea agreement and said that if such a forum was to be presented, the opposition leader should also participate in the process. “Granting this power only to the prime minister will allow the government to use it for its own purposes.”
Ahsan Iqbal said the proposed reduction in the physical return to 45 days of 90 days should be further reduced to match it with other crimes. “Why should the NAB be allowed to keep the accused in custody for an extremely long period of time to extract what he has not committed?” The PML-N leader said the opposition would not accept any partial solution and would prefer an exhaustive review and review of the NAO so that it becomes a modern law.
He said that the president of the NAB should not have broad discretionary powers and that the one-man show should be dispensed with. He said that, as the opposition previously suggested, a committee composed of different officials should make arrest decisions, initiate an investigation and submit references instead of just the president.
The draft amendments proposed by the Ministry of