ISLAMABAD - Demanding drastic changes in the draft bill of new accountability laws prepared by the government, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members of the parliamentary committee on accountability laws alleged that the government seemed facilitating the concealment of corruption and corrupt practices.
During the meeting of the parliamentary committee on accountability laws, which was held under the chair of Federal Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid, the body could not take up the agenda because as per commitment the members belonging to various political parties failed to come up with their written suggestions on the draft bill.
The members sought more time for filing of written suggestions and objections on the draft bill so the law minister was left with no choice but to adjourn the proceedings of the committee till October 18 with reminder to all the members to furnish their respective parties reflection on it by the next date.
The PTI members Shireen Mazari and Azam Swati raised six objections on the bill and charged that it was a draft full of flaws, which would only help the looter and plunderer of national wealth to dodge the accountability apparatus.
Mazari said that the plea-bargain provision was not at all acceptable to their party, similarly she was also critical on the move of shifting the onus of proof from accused to prosecution side, which would surely help the culprit to hoodwink the prosecution.
The PTI further objected to restricting the accountability to 2007 and no case prior to it could be brought in the ambit of the new accountability laws.
The party also objected to the point that in case the case against someone would not settle within 10 years the accused should be acquitted, while the party also objected to the release of convict on bail or payroll in corruption case after serving one-year in jail, which according to the PTI members would encourage corruption and corrupt practices in the country.
Mazari said that the party would furnish their written objections on the draft bill in the next meeting and threatened that in case the government would try to bulldoze it using their numerical strength in the parliament, they would take the matter to the court of the people of Pakistan, as the country could not withstand the loot and plunder of public money anymore.
Talking to the media, after the committee’s meeting, the chairman of the committee Federal Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid said that the government and even some opposition parties had reservations over bringing the army generals and judges of the superior judiciary in the ambit of new accountability law.
He said that as the suggestions from the political parties were not received yet so the committee could not proceed further and hoped that all the parties should come up with their suggestions by October 18 when the committee would meet again.
Zahid Hamid said that the PTI had raised some objections on the bill adding that they actually wanted continuation of the NAB Ordinance 2002.
Hamid said that they wanted to bring a powerful accountability laws and would give final shape to the proposed laws as soon as they would get the final suggestions and proposal from the political parties.
He said that the PTI and other parties members in the committee sought more time for the purpose as their legal teams were examining the draft bill and once they would receive the input of the political parties they would not waste even a single minute in bringing new accountability apparatus in the country.
Hamid further said that on the issue of bringing army generals and judges of the superior judiciary in the ambit of the new accountability laws, the political parties including the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had reservations.
Similarly, the parties could not evolve consensus on definition of corruption and holder of public office.