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President returns Accountability Bill

ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi has returned the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill to the Prime Minister while observing that Article 46 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan had been violated as he was not informed about this legislative proposal before bringing the bill to the parliament.

The Article 46 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan provides that “the Prime Minister shall keep the President informed……. on all legislative proposals the Federal Government intends to bring before Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)”, President’s Secretariat Media Wing said in a press release on Saturday.

The president returned the bill to the prime minister for reconsideration and detailed deliberation by the parliament and its committee(s) in terms of Clause (1) (b) of Article 75 of the Constitution.

The president further observed that the amendments had been passed by the National Assembly on 26th May, 2022 and by the Senate on 27th May, 2022 in haste and without due diligence.

He said the legislation, having far-reaching impact on the society, should have been discussed in details in consultation with the legal fraternity and civil society.

While dilating on the proposed amendments, the president said that by this amendment the burden of proof has been shifted to the prosecution which has made NAB Law similar to (CrPC) 1898.

This, he said, would make it impossible for the prosecution to prove cases of corruption and misuse of official authority by the state persons and would bury the process of accountability in Pakistan.

He said that such amendment was also against the spirit of Islamic jurisprudence where Caliph Hazar Umar (RA) was questioned by an ordinary citizen to explain the extra cloth for his long cloak and against various accountability laws of developed countries such as Swiss Foreign Illicit Assets Act 2010 and Unexplained Wealth Order 2018 of UK in White-Collar Crimes.

He emphasized the amendment would make the tracing money trail for the acquisition of illegal assets almost impossible, especially when the records of the property/assets/wealth were neither digitized, nor could be traced, especially in Benami properties by the investigators.

He said that if the amendments were enacted as proposed, the ongoing mega corruption cases in the courts would be rendered infructuous, therefore, the proposed amendment which should have strengthened the accountability mechanism to eliminate corruption and political engineering to ensure good governance in the country had been rendered a toothless entity. | YouTube Channel

Hissan Sheikh

Karachi's S M Law College graduate Hissan Sheikh writes on crime and local politics etc.