Clip­ping the pow­ers of NAB

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - ASMA HUS­SAIN MORIO

It has been un­der con­sid­er­a­tion by Sen­ate to pass a cru­cial bill to cur­tail pow­ers of the Na­tional Ac­count­abil­ity Bu­reau (NAB). This bill was tabled last year in De­cem­ber by PPP named Na­tional Ac­count­abil­ity (Amend­ment) Bill. It is be­ing said by the mover of the bill that the 18th Con­sti­tu­tional Amend­ment gave greater au­ton­omy to the fed­er­at­ing units and anti-cor­rup­tion which is now a “resid­uary sub­ject”.

Last week NAB ar­rested sus­pended Sec­re­tary Fi­nance of Balochis­tan, Mush­taq Raisani for em­bez­zling in lo­cal funds. He had done cor­rup­tion of Rs.1.5 bil­lion. Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of NAB Ma­jor Tariq Mehmood had re­it­er­ated that prior to the ar­rest of Mush­taq Raisani, they had to face a tremen­dous pres­sure from dif­fer­ent quar­ters in­clud­ing from Cabi­net. It is not first time that Prov­inces or po­lit­i­cal par­ties had get to­gether to cur­tail pow­ers of those de­part­ments which are putting stern check at their con­duct. Same had hap­pened with Rangers when they raided of­fices of Min­is­ters and high pro­filed po­lit­i­cal per­son­als. Bill states that Pro­vin­cial au­thor­i­ties are re­spon­si­ble for their own ac­count­abil­ity through com­mis­sions and bu­reaus as Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa gov­ern­ment had done. It is true that Pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments can make such com­mis­sions which can tackle with cor­rup­tion cases but what about those Prov­inces where ac­count­abil­ity is zero like Balochis­tan and Sindh.

Sen­ate must not pass this bill be­cause if this bill will be passed then it will amend var­i­ous sec­tions of Na­tional Ac­count­abil­ity Or­di­nance 1999, which will re­strict NAB from raid­ing the de­part­ments and Min­istries of Fed­eral gov­ern­ment. It is de­plorable to know that af­ter try­ing to weaken Rangers, it is be­ing preached to de­value NAB and de­valu­ing NAB by crit­i­cizs­ing 18th Amend­ment is a very lam­en­ta­ble act as 18th Amend­ment was a land­mark Con­sti­tu­tional achieve­ment which should not be triv­i­al­ized at any cost. As far as Pro­vin­cial authority’s re­spon­si­bil­ity is con­cerned for ac­count­abil­ity, un­less Prov­inces have that autonomous Pro­vin­cial Ac­count­abil­ity Bu­reaus, NAB should con­tinue func­tion­ing. —Larkana

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