Opposition withdraws NAB amendment bill in NA

Opposition withdraws NAB amendment bill in NA

MNA Dastgir says PDM decided not to present/support any bill to amend NAB law

In a surprise move, the opposition on Tuesday withdrew the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Amendment Bill 2020 in the lower house of parliament.

Since 2019, the opposition parties were attempting to curtail the sweeping powers of the anti-corruption watchdog by amending the National Accountability Ordinance through the said bill. At that time, mega corruption cases against the opposition parties’ leadership had started piling up.

On taking back the bill during the National Assembly session chaired by Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, PML-N leader Khurram Dastgir said, “The opposition withdraws the bill proposed to amend the NAB law.

“The Pakistan Democratic Movement [an alliance of 11 opposition parties formed to oust the ruling PTI] has decided that it will not present or support any bill to amend the NAB law.”

Further, the PML-N was not allowed to introduce a bill regarding the appointment of judges of special courts.

In this regard, MNA Dastgir said, “The judges of special courts are appointed by the government while it should be the prerogative of the chief justice of the high court.”

After a vote, the National Assembly rejected the bill’s motion.

MNA Mohsin Ali Dawar introduced the Lawyers and Bar Councils Amendment Bill 2020. “The erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) was not represented in the bar councils,” Dawar said, adding that the bill seeks its representation in the bar councils.

Parliamentary Secretary Malika Bukhari opposed the bill, saying that if the number of bar council seat is increased, there will be problems in the electoral college.

Dawar replied that seven new districts had been merged with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. “As erstwhile Fata was made part of the system, it should be represented in the bar councils.”

Bukhari replied that she would sit and hold a consultation with him.

After that, the lower house allowed introducing the bill.

MNA Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha introduced the Anti-Narcotics Amendment Bill 2020 in the National Assembly and while discussing it, said that in the Rana Sanaullah case, the judge was “replaced on WhatsApp”.

Ranjha said that the purpose behind introducing the bill was to prevent pressure from being exerted on judges.

“The matter of appointment of judges should be referred to the concerned high court chief justice.”

The Anti-Narcotics Amendment Bill 2020 was rejected by the Minister of Anti-Narcotics, Ijaz Ahmad Shah, who said that the federal government “consults the judiciary on the issue of appointment of judges”.

“Laws cannot be amended for personal gain,” the minister remarked. The lower house did not allow the Anti-Narcotics Amendment Bill 2020 to be introduced.

MNA James Iqbal introduced the Kite Flying Bill 2020, saying that many “lives are lost every year due to kite flying”.

“There should be a complete ban on kite flying as well as its buying and selling.”

On this, Parliamentary Secretary Shaukat Ali recommended sending the bill to the relevant committee.

The National Assembly session was adjourned till 11am on Friday.