PPP finally decides to do away with NAB
By: Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party-led ruling alliance has given the final go-ahead for scrapping the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and, for the purpose, legislation for the establishment of a National Accountability Commission (NAC) would be undertaken next week.
Parliamentarians belonging to the ruling alliance are being asked by their leadership to ensure their presence during the session as federal Law and Justice Minister Farooq H Naek has given his nod to the draft of the bill for bringing about major changes in the accountability laws of the country which had throughout been the centre of controversy among the political leaders.
Well-placed parliamentary sources told The News here on Saturday that the major opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has also sought guidance from its leader Nawaz Sharif to put up resistance in the way of its adoption. Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has been given a free hand by the PML-N leadership to deal with the situation but it is understood that the opposition would exploit every tactic of filibustering to stall the passage so that it should not become part of the statute book. MNAs Zahid Hamid and Ms Anusha Rehman Khan advocates, who are playing the sheet-anchor role in the NA standing committee for the Law and Justice Affairs Ministry, have written their dissenting notes to attach to the bill when it is tabled in the House, the sources said.
The opposition has also established contact with the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) to secure Maulana Fazl’s support for opposing the bill so that a unified position is taken in the House pertaining to the bill that the opposition has been terming as legislation for the protection of corruption.
Some members belonging to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), who have been performing as independents in the lower house of parliament, are also inclined to support the opposition in opposing the bill, the sources added.
In another significant development, the opposition has submitted its note of dissent on the Fair Trial Bill. The bill was bulldozed by the chairperson of the standing committee, and like the NAC bill, no final draft has so far been provided to the opposition members. It is a departure from decent parliamentary practices and the government has planned to bring both bills straight to the House without supplying copies of the last draft to the opposition and letting it know the fate of amendments and proposals of the opposition member submitted by them during the course of deliberations. The dissenting note that has been written by Zahid Hamid in the case of the Fair Trial Bill suggested that the ruling alliance has bulldozed the draft of the legislation and it does not corroborate with the spirit of democracy. The opposition members are constrained to submit their amendments once the bill is laid in the House. The opposition has taken strong exception on the way the government party has pushed through the bill.
Incidentally one major ruling coalition partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), has publicly opposed the Fair Trial Bill while the opposition has been terming it as the ‘Unfair Trial Bill.’
The sources said that the government is determined to get the two bills adopted during the current sessions of the National Assembly and Senate, which are supposed to adjourn sine die on the 20th and 21st of this month. The opposition will knock the doors of the superior judiciary in case both or either of the two is passed by the two houses, the sources said.