Clipping wings of NAB shall be unconstitutional

LEGAL luminary and Constitutional expert par excellence S M Zafar has warned that any attempt to amend the Constitution to control or curtail the powers of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) through joint session will be unconstitutional. In a statement, he pointed out that the Constitution can only be amended under Article-239 by the 2/3 majority of the total membership of the National Assembly and the Senate sitting separately.
His warning comes in the backdrop of media reports that the Government was contemplating measures including amendment in the Constitution to clip wings of the NAB. It is obvious that both PML-N and PPP have some grievances against the Bureau and they want to curb its powers but it must be kept in mind that they would be doing so at the cost of their overall reputation and good governance. NAB is there against corruption and there should be no discrimination in holding across the board accountability. Selective accountability, which often smacks of political vendetta, would not help the society or the country at all when corruption is rampant and there is dire need to strengthen the mechanism to ensure action against the corrupt. The PPP, which is widely believed to have indulged in massive corruption during its five-year-term, wants to restrict powers of both the NAB and FIA to evade accountability. However, the stance taken by the government is highly intriguing as even the Prime Minister himself hurled threats against the Bureau. However, acting wisely, Chairman NAB issued a statement acknowledging that there might be some drawbacks in the working of the Bureau and that these shortcomings would be removed with the cooperation and guidance of the Government. The matter should have ended then and there but the consistent reports about depriving NAB of its powers speak otherwise. We believe that instead of generating controversies and difficulties for itself, the Government has a gigantic economic and developmental agenda and it should concentrate on its fast-pace implementation as it has already consumed fifty percent of its term and elections are due in 2018.

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