The government is likely to introduce a new accountability bill in parliament as soon as the prime minister agrees to the proposals prepared by the parliamentary panel on law and justice affairs, officials said on Sunday.
Another bill, drafted in 2009 and tabled by then law minister Babar Awan, remains stalled as Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), failed to make any headway on some contentious clauses.
The Accountability Act of 2009 promised to disband the National Accountability Bill (NAB) and create a new independent accountability commission.
“We are ready to break the parliamentary logjam by submitting a new accountability bill in the National Assembly,” chairperson of the National Assembly’s standing committee on law and justice Begum Nasim Chaudhry said. She said that it was vital to present the bill in parliament as the country’s top accountability organisation had become dysfunctional in light of an apex court judgment.
Last week, she had cancelled a meeting of the panel, accusing the PML-N lawmakers of not being serious in sorting out the controversy.
She said that a meeting with the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, had also not yielded any positive results.
PML-N lawmakers Zahid Hamid and Anusha Rehman Khan had submitted dissent note.
“We want some amendments in the controversial clauses, but the PPP did not entertain our dissent note,” said Hamid.
This, he said, indicated that the government was not serious in activating the accountability laws.
PML-N also suggested around 58 amendments to the bill.
PML-N supports the idea of across the board accountability, but the PPP government wants accountability of public office holders after 1985. Appointment of the chief of new accountability commission and his powers are also major hurdles as the PML-N wants its top slot to be filled by a sitting judge of the apex court.
Pakistan Muslim League-Q and Muttahida Qaumi Movement want early enactment of the new accountability bill as early as possible.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2011.