NAB chief's extension has 'malicious intent', says Bilawal

PPP says 'selected' government wants to continue victimising opposition


News Desk October 07, 2021
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressing a rally in Kotli, Azad Jammu and Kashmir on June 26, 2021. SCREENGRAB

KARACHI:

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto said on Thursday that an extension of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief's term was not only 'illegal' but was done with 'malicious intent'.

"[The] 'selected' government wants to continue victimization of opposition while ensuring the PM, his family, government and cronies continue to be immune from accountability, especially post Pandora Papers," the PPP chief said on Twitter.

 

A day earlier, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led federal government gave certain exemptions to public office-holders in the amended National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 2021, promulgated by President Arif Alvi.

Read Opposition calls for debating NAB ordinance in NA

A senior government official believes that the ordinance may benefit Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Ahsan Iqbal and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who are facing corruption cases.

However, a PML-N senator expressed serious concerns over the new amendments to the NAO, 1999. He questioned the appointment of retired judges to accountability courts. He also objected to the amendments about the admissibility of evidence during trial.

As per the Ordinance, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal will remain in his seat till the appointment of a new chief of the NAB. It further stated that Iqbal could also be chosen as a candidate for the new NAB chairman slot.

Earlier on September 27, Bilawal said that his party would "forcefully oppose" the "illegal extension" in the tenure of the NAB chairman.

Bilawal maintained that the law specifies that the tenure may not be extended. He added that even if an extension was attempted for the incumbent NAB chairperson, it would prove his party's position that NAB is "an extension" of the PTI government and "not impartial".

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