AMENDING the National Accountability Ordinance (NAB) for a third time in less than a month, the federal government has now stripped the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) of the powers to remove the NAB Chairman and authorized the President to do so.
Any anti-corruption body should be an independent body and our successive governments including the present one also gave the same impression regarding the NAB. Has it been so? The people know the answer very well.
Now authorizing the executive to remove its chief will definitely raise legitimate concerns about the impartiality of the institution.
Under the Constitution, the President must act on the advice of the Prime Minister. Through this ordinance, the Prime Minister has actually empowered himself to sack the NAB Chairman.
Already the opposition parties are lashing the anti-graft body for one sided accountability and political engineering, and the recent amendment will give further credence to their viewpoint that the sitting government does not want accountability of those in its own ranks but only of its opponents.
There is a genuine question as to how the Chairman NAB will be able to act against the incumbents when the sword of removal is hanging over his head.
The opposition leaders were also quick to criticize the government’s move describing it mala fide and aimed at usurping the powers of the judiciary.
We, therefore, will suggest the government to refrain from such controversial steps and withdraw the latest amendment in the NAB ordinance before it is challenged and quashed by the courts. The PTI had come to power with the slogan of holding the corrupt elements accountable.
Everybody wants the corrupt elements behind the bars but it should be done in the fairest and transparent manner so that nobody could raise fingers on the process.
The more prudent and sensible way will be that both the government and the opposition parties sit together whilst rising above their petty political interests and bring such a piece of legislation which helps achieve the objective of across the board accountability.
Political victimization will only further vitiate the environment which is not good for our already struggling economy.