Corruption has been effectively legalized in Pakistan with the new set of amendments in the NAB(National Accountability Bureau) Laws.
What’s In The NAB Amendment?
Here is an overview of the salient points of the NAB Amendment Bill:
Section 21(G): No Proof From Outside Acceptable
Section 21(G) of the latest NAB Amendments says that evidence from outside of Pakistan cannot be used to convict anyone.
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It is being said that this law is being legislated to damage the cases against the Sharif family. The Sharif family has been investigated for undeclared apartments outside Pakistan. Now, evidence produced from abroad cannot be used to establish the truth.
Section 14: Accused Not Responsible For Money-Trail
According to Section 14 of the amendment, the accused will not be required to provide a money trail even if they have asset-beyond-means.
Section 36: Punishment For False Registry Of Cases
If the accused is acquitted by the court on the grounds that the case was begun with mala fide intent or was founded on false or invented evidence, the person responsible shall be punished with imprisonment of either kind for a time that may amount to five years, as well as a fine.
Section 33F: NAB Officers Cannot Make Public Comments
The recent change to the NAB law restricts the issuance of public comments. No NAB officer, in any capacity, will make any public or media remark about any individual engaged in any inquiry or investigation conducted by NAB before a reference has been made against such person.
If the NAB officer makes a public comment, he or she might face a minimum of 1 month in prison and a fine of 1 million rupees.
Section 24 of NAO 1999: Curtailment Of NAB Chairman’s Powers
According to Section 24 of NAO(NAB Amendment Ordinance) 1999, the NAB chairman may issue an arrest warrant during an investigation if the accused intentionally or willfully fails to cooperate in the investigation despite repeated notice, the accused attempts to flee, there are sufficient grounds that the accused may tamper with prosecution evidence, and there is sufficient information regarding repetition or continuation of an offence under this ordinance. Similarly, the NAB may keep the accused for 14 days throughout the inquiry. Previously, the accused might be detained for 90 days by the NAB.
Removal Of Chairman NAB
Concerning the dismissal of the Chairman NAB, it is stated that he shall not be dismissed “except on the grounds and in the manner as provided in Article 209 of the Constitution”.
However, one group of attorneys believes that the government did not totally eliminate the uncertainty by not explicitly using the word “forum” in the new amendment for the dismissal of the NAB chairman.
There have been doubts concerning the forum to try the NAB chairman since the adoption of the NAB law. The previous administration authorized the president of the country to dismiss the NAB chairman for wrongdoing by an ordinance.
Imran Khan’s Reaction
Imran denounced the government’s decision to make the legislation law, calling it a “dark day” in the country’s history and accusing the “imported government” of terminating accountability. He stated that the ruling class would benefit the most from the alterations.
While underlining that no country can advance until there’s justice, the ex-PM said to all those concerned that history would not forget all those who forced the imported regime on the country.
“I want to send a message: history never forgets; history will not forget all those who imposed these people [government] on us,” the ex-prime minister said in a speech. He stated that the prosperity of the country was tied to the application of the rule of law, which implies that no one was above the law. He emphasized that countries in which one class is thought to be above the law are ruined and have no future.
Calling the passing of the NAB bill an insult to the nation, Imran Khan stated that the government does not lack finances, but rather in giving justice and that the country cannot advance unless rich offenders are brought to justice.
The PTI chairman expressed optimism that the Supreme Court will take note of the NAB amendments, reiterating that the “imported government” came to power, not for the people but to settle its corruption cases.
He pointed to Power Minister Khurram Dastagir’s speech, in which he stated that Imran was deposed due to his intention to extend his power by disqualifying political opponents by 2022 by appointing 100 additional judges for accountability courts.
Ex-PM added that revisions to NAB law will benefit former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, as well as former president Asif Ali Zardari while regretting that corruption cases worth Rs1,100 billion will now be closed as a result of the NAB amendments.
According to him, the new legislation limits the capabilities of the anti-corruption body, since the NAB would no longer be allowed to investigate money laundering crimes. He stated that from now on, money laundering matters will be handled by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which reports to Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah.
According to him, the changes would save all those who have assets that exceed their means. In reference to the Panama cases that brought pricey London properties to light, he said that Maryam Nawaz was the beneficial owner of the most expensive flats.
Furthermore, he stated that following the modifications, any bureaucrat who creates property in the name of minors would not be held accountable. He recounted how his opponents piled on the pressure throughout his three-and-a-half-year timeframe for seeking a settlement or NRO.
He went on to say that his opponents tried to blackmail him during FATF legislation, but he refused to fulfil their requests, lamenting that they now had an NRO.
Imran stated that after the modifications, the money moved to phoney accounts would have to be shown by NAB rather than “thieves,” affirming that white-collar crime is already incredibly tough to detect throughout the world.