Opposition seeks parliamentary debate on new NAB law

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ISLAMABAD: Assailing the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for promulgating the controversial National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Amendment Ordinance, the country’s major opposition parties have asked the government to bring the newly-introduced ordinance to parliament for debate.

The leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) are alleging that the government has introduced the ordinance to stop NAB from probing mega-corruption cases involving the present government.

PML-N’s information secretary Marriyum Aurang­zeb said in a statement on Sunday that her party had rejected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s NAB Ordi­nance which, she said, had been brought to dry-clean the PTI government and to halt all inquiries into their mega corruption scandals.

The ordinance, she said, was a recipe cooked by the “selected prime minister to grant limitless NROs to his blue-eyed beneficiaries and his corrupt regime”.

Ms Aurangzeb said the “so-called prime minister” boasted of the bill being businessmen-friendly but in essence it went against their interests and only sought to guard corruption of his friends. This, she said, was the biggest deception and fraud with the business community of the country.

“If the government was so committed to benefit the businesses, it would have brought a permanent legislation through parliament instead of a temporary ordinance,” she said.

The PML-N leader said the fact that the NAB Ordinance was not brought in front of the parliamentary committee proved the government’s ill intentions.

“If Imran and his regime is honest and has done no wrong, why did he conjure up this new standard of accountability for his government after grilling the opposition through previous laws, and why is he trying to use this to shut down probes into his projects who are already knee-deep in corruption?” she questioned.

Speaking at a news conference, PPP Central Punjab president Qamar Zaman Kaira opposed the idea of challenging the controversial ordinance in courts and urged the government to bring the controversial ordinance before parliament in the form of proper legislation.

“We don’t want to take every matter to courts. We want to talk in the parliament,” said Mr Kaira in reply to a question.

The PPP leader, however, declared that he could not state the “final stance” of his party as it had so far not discussed the matter. He said the PPP leadership and its legal team were currently reviewing the ordinance.

Terming the issuance of the ordinance another U-turn of Imran Khan, Mr Kaira alleged that the ­government had brought this ordinance only to save the prime minister, his cronies and allies.

He said NAB could not hold accountability of the government people, judiciary, army, bureaucracy and businessmen, and the Bureau was there only to carry out the accountability of the PPP and PML-N.

When Mr Kaira’s attention was drawn to media reports that the opposition members, including former president Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur, would also benefit from the new ordinance, he said it would be premature to talk about it.

Moreover, he said, the opposition members were already facing trials in different courts, including high courts and special courts. He said the comments and remarks given by the courts in their decisions while granting bails to the opposition leaders were before everyone.

The PPP leader alleged that the main purpose of the new ordinance was to stop NAB from taking up scams like Malam Jabba and Peshawar BRT (Bus Rapid Transport).

He said that Imran Khan would soon be taking “the last U-turn” of his political life and he would go from where he had been sent to do politics.

“When the need of the selected ends, then the selec­ted [people] are allowed to take a last U-turn,” the PPP leader said.

PPP Central Punjab Secretary General Chau­dhry Manzoor Ahmed, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and party’s media coordinator Nazir Dhoki were also present in the news conference.