Govt, Opp agree to amend NAB Ord

Zahid Chaudhary

Islamabad—The government and the opposition parties in the National Assembly on Tuesday agreed to form a multi-party parliamentary committee comprising members both from the lower and upper houses to bring amendments in National Accountability Ordinance , 1999. The aim is to make the accountability bureau an independent and neutral institution so that it could work impartially without any influence.
The idea of the constitution of the committee was floated by Law Minister Zahid Hamid after the presentation of the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2016 before the house by the opposition members.
In his remarks, the law minister said that instead of bringing separate draft bills, it will be advisable to form a parliamentary committee consisting members from both the houses to overhaul the National Accountability Bureau.
“Making a fully empowered accountability body was part of the manifesto of PML-N. We want to make the NAB fully independent which could decide cases transparently on the basis of merit”, said Zahid Hamid
When the speaker sought view point from other members of the house, they supported the idea saying it should be constituted forthwith to ensure across the board accountability. They were of the view that all the parties should be given representation in the committee which should also not be big in size.
The opposition members said there is consensus among the political parties against the corruption and the committee should be given a clear cut time framework to complete its work on the draft legislation. They said that the accountability bureau should be strengthened and freed from political influences.
The members stressed that whosoever has committed corruption and involved in embezzlement and money laundering should be brought to book.
Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that FATA and all the provinces should be given representation in the parliamentary committee and asked the law minister to complete the process of formation of the committee at the earliest.
Other bills that were laid before the House on Tuesday were “The Islamabad High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2016”, “The Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Amendment) Bill, 2016”, “The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016” and “The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2016”. The bills were referred to the Standing Committees concerned.
Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid told the House that the government and the opposition have agreed to a joint draft of Anti-Rape Law which will be presented before the Joint Sitting of Parliament for approval.

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