PTI will go to SC this week over NAB law amendments: Imran

Law minister says over 855 of amendments to NAB law same as proposed by PTI during its tenure

PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday said his party would challenge the recent amendments to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance in the Supreme Court.

Earlier this month, a joint session of parliament had passed three bills, including those related to electoral reforms and the accountability law. Amendments to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) (Amendment) Bill were aimed at preventing the “misuse of law for political engineering and victimization of opponents”. The changes were criticized by Imran and his party, with the PTI chairman saying the move would destroy the country as the amendments would protect white collar criminals from accountability.

Continuing that train of criticism in Tuesday’s media address, Imran said the assembly session where the amendment was passed was a “mockery and a joke with the country”. “Those who passed the NAB amendments should be thrown into jail due to their shamelessness,” he added. He expressed hope that the courts would take notice of the development, adding that if such moves were allowed then it would be detrimental for the country.

Imran said laws formulated in the country should not be specific to any one person but instead be applicable to the collective whole. Tackling the major amendments one by one, Imran explained how they would be used to allegedly eliminate a number of cases against leaders of the coalition government. The PTI chairman alleged that he was pressured throughout the entire duration of his government and blackmailed to provide a National Reconciliation Ordinance-type deal to major political figures of the present coalition government but he did not give in. “It should be clear now their return [to power] was not to reduce inflation.” He said if the present government remained in power then Pakistan would be on its way to a situation similar to the one in Sri Lanka. “What they have done today (passing and implementing the NAB amendment law) is [give a] licence to [commit] corruption.” Imran said he would issue another public call to show where the nation stood on the issue, adding that history would not forget those who abetted and supported the present government in coming to power.

Earlier on Tuesday, PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi rejected the notion that the NAB reforms bill was designed with the aim to close ongoing graft cases against the party’s leadership. “Cases against us will continue,” he said while speaking to the media outside an accountability court on Tuesday after a journalist asked him about allegations that the intention behind the legislation was to end graft cases against the country’s incumbent rulers.

He said that most of the amendments were proposed to the NAB law during the PTI’s tenure and several federal ministers had admitted that these were necessary to fulfill the requirements of justice.

Leader of the House in the Senate Azam Nazeer Tarar, who is also the law minister, on Tuesday said that over 85 percent amendments in the National Accountability Act (Second Amendment) were same as proposed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in their two ordinances promulgated during their tenure. Responding to the adjournment motion moved by the PTI lawmakers, he said that PTI was criticizing the Act without even reading it. He challenged the PTI lawmakers to hold open debate with him over the Act, saying only anomalies and flaws in the NAB law had been removed. Tarar said the NAB Act was passed in the National Assembly after thorough debate and discussion for over five hours on each clause of the Act.