ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to strip the National Office of Responsibility (NAB) of powers to investigate the affairs of people who are not holders of public office by modifying the National Responsibility Ordinance (NAO), commonly known as the NAB law .
At a press conference on Wednesday, the federal Minister of Law and Justice, Dr. Farogh Nasim, explained the proposed amendments to "rationalize" the NAB and said that one of them was intended to "exclude the private person from the jurisdiction of NAB. "
"Someone who has never held a public office and is not related to a holder of a public office, being a private person, should not be under the jurisdiction of the NAB," Barrister Nasim said.
Entrepreneurs should be subject to the relevant laws of the Federal Revenue Board (FBR) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in case they get involved in tax evasion and other financial irregularities, said the minister.
Farogh Nasim says that employers must be subject to the laws of the Federal Board of Revenue and the Federal Investigation Agency
The watchdog may also be prohibited from interfering in matters related to financial disputes between private parties because the organization was created primarily to investigate cases of megacorruption, he said.
Read: the cabinet reflects on the steps to control NAB for the complaints of businessmen
According to Dr. Nasim, a proposed amendment would entitle the accountability court to grant bail to an NAB defendant.
According to the 1999 NAO, there is no provision to grant bail to a NAB suspect; As a result, a suspect must file a petition in accordance with article 199 before the higher court to request a bond. A citizen can invoke Article 199 and file a petition with the higher court to enforce fundamental rights when there is no remedy available under the law.
The law minister also said his ministry is working on redefining the provisions related to the voluntary return of the misappropriated amount and the release of a person under a plea agreement.
The lawyer Nasim said that the proposed amendments had been drafted taking into account the recent sentences of the President of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Asif Saeed Khosa, and Judge Sheikh Azmat Saeed.
The retired NAB president, Judge Javed Iqbal, is on board in matters related to the rationalization of the NAB law, he said. The government is also considering taking measures to improve the capacity of NAB staff.
Regarding the work done by his ministry since August last year, Dr. Nasim said that, although he presented several bills in parliament to simplify legal procedures that would otherwise be complicated, due to the lack of cooperation from the opposition, these bills could not become law.
He said that because the opposition enjoys an overwhelming majority in the Senate, even laws that are directly related to the welfare of citizens could not be passed in that chamber.
He gave a brief introduction of the laws that the ministry had presented in parliament in the last year and that were approved by the relevant committees. He said that 22 laws had been formulated in the last 12 months, of which six were passed by the lower house of parliament.
During the period, the ministry also created a website (www.pakistancode.gov.pk) that was accessed by more than 55 million users.
According to Barrister Nasim, the law ministry has presented, among others, a bill related to amendments in the civil procedure code, the Whistleblower Law, the Legal Assistance Authority Law, the Mutual Legal Assistance Law, the Law of the Ombudsman for Women, the Law of Succession and the Law of Christian Marriage.
The minister also spoke about the Kashmir dispute and said that Pakistan had effectively presented its case to the United Nations Security Council. He also commended the president of the United States, Donald Trump, for offering to mediate between Pakistan and India on the issue.
Published on Dawn, August 22, 2019
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