The National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was approved by both houses of parliament on Monday after President Arif Alvi declined to sign it because the administration wants to “empower” the chairman of the body.
The bill was approved by the National Assembly and the Senate in April, but the president sent it back to the legislature the same month with instructions to “reconsider” the revisions.
According to Article 75(1)(b) of the Constitution, the president referred the bill back to the parliament after Imran Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), contested earlier revisions to the accountability rules.
The president had highlighted that “this aspect has not been addressed in the bill and the prime minister’s advice.”
Now that the law has been approved by the joint sitting, even if the president does not sign off on it within 10 days, the Constitution specifies that it will be assumed that he has.
Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar stated while presenting the motion for requesting ratification of the bill that the laws created under a dictator’s control were now being utilised for political engineering.
The minister stated that even though the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) claimed the law was a “NRO-II,” time would prove to the PTI that it is in fact a “NRO-II” for the PTI.
According to Tarar, the NAB was manipulated politically when Javed Iqbal was its former chairman.
The law minister stated that no institution has the authority to meddle in the affairs of the parliament in reference to the Supreme Court hearing on the NAB bill.
The minister stated, “We have not yet interfered in the jurisdiction of any other institution [and we expect the judiciary to do the same].”
Senator Mushtaq Ahmed of Jamaat-e-Islami proposed various changes to the law following the minister’s motion, but the house rejected those ideas.