President Arif Alvi has sent the Elections Amendment and National Accountability Bills back to the Prime Minister, citing violation of Article 46 of the Constitution. He also recommended further ‘deliberation’ on the legislation.
The bills were passed last week on May 26 by the upper and lower houses of the parliament.
The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022 seeks to remove the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and revoke i-voting for overseas Pakistanis. The National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill 2021 aims to curb the powers of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
The president cited Article 46 of the Constitution of Pakistan while returning the bills back to the prime minister. The Article in question says that the president must be kept informed throughout legislative processes.
“The Prime Minister shall keep the President informed on all matters of internal and foreign policy and on all legislative proposals the Federal Government intends to bring before Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament),” reads the Article.
The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022 intends to carry out pilot projects in local by-elections before using i-voting and EVMs in the next general elections.
The NAB law amendment bill recommended that the deputy chairman of the anti-graft body would become acting chairman following the top official’s retirement.
Federal and provincial tax matters, as well as regulatory bodies’ decisions, would be removed from NAB’s ambit.
The amendments also included up to five-year imprisonment for filing a false reference. NAB would need to ensure the availability of evidence prior to arrest.
The president, while returning the bills to the prime minister, recommended that there be further deliberation and consideration before sending them back to him.