ISLAMABAD: Minister for Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan on Friday laid National Accountability (amendment) Ordinance, 2010 (Ordinance No. XVIII of 2010), in the Senate as required by clause (2) of Article 89 of the Constitution. Deputy Chairman of Senate Jan Jamali referred the ordinance to the committee for further consideration. However, Zafar Ali Shah and Professor Khurshid raised objections on the ordinance.They said the ordinance was presented after a delay of 15 days, adding that the President signed the ordinance on Sept 16.They further said the Minister had also not made it public, neither it was published in the Gazette of Pakistan nor in media.
They said the Minister for Law deliberately presented the bill in the House at the time when it was being prorogated so that it could not be debated. The Law Minister responding to the objections raised by the senators, said that the ordinance was published in the Gazette of Pakistan on Sept 16 which means it was made public. He said it was unfair that the two senators alleged that the government and he had malafide intentions regarding the bill and so the bill was presented so late. He said the two senators did not read the ordinance and made their remarks without having knowledge.
Dr. Awan said after the constitution of Islamabad High Court it became obligatory to form accountability court and this provision exits in the constitution. He said under the ordinance the government would provide protection to witnesses, public prosecutors and judges for free and fair justice. He questioned that how he would get benefit from it? If somebody have objections on it he may give his suggestions to the committee, he added.
He further said that the government earlier presented the bill in the House and the chair gave ruling that an amendment should be proposed to stop the commission system in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the same thing was included in the ordinance.
He said under the ordinance NAB officers would not get commission in any case. “What is against the justice in it?,” he again questioned.
Awan said the two senators wrongly said that the federal government was taking the power of appointing the chairman of accountability.
He said there was nothing like this in the ordinance and the two senators made their statements without going through the ordinance.
He said,” the constitution allows that any ordinance can be presented in the Parliament within 120 days after it is signed by the President”. The government could not be held responsible for any delay in presentation of the ordinance, he added. “We presented the ordinance in the Senate within 10 day. Is it our fault? ,” he questioned.He said as the ordinance was a legislative piece, how could the government get benefit by keeping it secret?
He said those who are talking of NRO (national Reconciliation Ordinance) today were its supporters. He further said the two senators spoke about rules but they themselves violated the rules of the House by raising objections on the ordinance. He said nobody can speak in favour or against of an ordinance once it is referred to the committee, but the two senators insisted to speak on it.
Earlier, PML-N Senator Zafar Ali Shah said that the President signed the ordinance on Sept 16 but the Minister presented it in the House after 15 days and at the time when the House was being prorogated. He said presenting the bill at this time indicates malafide intentions of the government, adding the government knows very well that the Parliament can undo any ordinance which it deems against public interest.
He remarked that the government wanted to take the powers of appointing NAB chairman by implementing this ordinance.
Professor Khurshid said since the President singed the ordinance it becomes the responsibility of the Ministry to make it public as soon as possible. He said it was a matter of serious concern that the ordinance was kept secret. He said the notification of assembly and senate sessions was issued on Sept 20 but the government instead of bringing the ordinance in the parliament for debate kept it secret and presented it at the end of the Senate session.-SANA