President Dr. Arif Alvi on Saturday returned National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Election (amendment) Bills to the Prime Minister for reconsideration.

Refusing to approve the bills, the President directed the federal government to review the NAB and Election Amendment Bills.

The President has returned the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill to the Prime Minister while observing that Article 46 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan had been violated as he was not informed about this legislative proposal before bringing the bill to the parliament.

It pertinent to mention that the President’s approval is required for the implementation of both laws.

However, after the President’s decision, the government will present the two bills in a joint sitting of Parliament. The federal government will introduce bills under Article 75 of the Constitution.

It may be recalled that the Parliament had recently abolished electronic voting machine (EVM) and overseas voting under the Election Amendment Bill 2022 while reducing the powers of NAB through the NAB Amendment Bill.

Article 46 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan provides that “the Prime Minister shall keep the President informed on all legislative proposals the Federal Government intends to bring before Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)” President’s Secretariat Media Wing said in a press release on Saturday.

President Alvi said the legislation has a far-reaching impact on society and should have been discussed in detail in consultation with the legal fraternity and civil society.

While dilating on the proposed amendments, the president said that by this amendment the burden of proof has been shifted to the persecution which has made NAB Law similar to (CrPC) 1898.

This, he said, would make it impossible for the prosecution to prove cases of corruption and misuse of official authority by the state persons and would bury the process of accountability in Pakistan.

He emphasized the amendment would make the tracing money trail for the acquisition of illegal assets almost impossible especially when the records of the property/assets/wealth were neither digitized nor could be traced especially in Benami properties by the investigators.

He said that if the amendments were enacted as proposed, the ongoing mega corruption cases in the courts would be rendered infructuous, therefore, the proposed amendment should have strengthened the accountability mechanism to eliminate corruption and political engineering to ensure good governance in the country had been rendered a toothless entity.