Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairperson Imran Khan has challenged the recent amendments to the National Accountability (NAB) Ordinance before the Supreme Court, terming them a violation of the constitution.
Last month, the National Assembly and Senate had passed the NAB amendment bill. However, President Dr Arif Alvi had sent back the bill, following which the government had convened a joint sitting of the NA and Senate and approved the bill.
According to the procedure, 10 days after a joint sitting passes a bill, it is considered law even if the president refuses assent.
Today, in his petition, Imran made the Federation of Pakistan and the NAB as respondents and prayed the court to adjudicate upon questions of “great public importance” with reference to the enforcement of fundamental rights of citizens under articles 9, 14, 19A, 24 and 25 of the Constitution.
He claimed that the amendments made to the NAB law are against the Constitution and demanded they should be struck off from the statute books.
“The NAB may be asked to provide details of all such cases which relate to the prominent and influential holders of public office, especially regarding cases pertaining to offences of owning assets (movable and immovable) without means,” the petition stated.
It further stated that the amendments hand over the president’s right to appoint NAB’s chairman to the government, which, according to the petitioner, will maneuver by the bulk of the holders of public office to assume control over and influence the impartiality of the NAB chairman.
It is pertinent to mention that the bill has reduced the four-year term of the NAB chairman and the bureau’s prosecutor general to three years.
Under the proposed law, NAB will not be able to act on federal, provincial or local tax matters. Moreover, it has been made binding upon NAB to ensure the availability of evidence against an accused prior to his or her arrest.