PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday called for throwing incumbent rulers behind bars for “shamelessly” amending the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws.
“They should be put in jail for their shamelessness. Nobody can pass such laws the way this government did,” the former prime minister said at a press conference as he announced approaching the Supreme Court against the NAB amendments.
The government passed the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2022, in the National Assembly and the Senate last month, but President Arif Alvi returned the bill unsigned. Later, on June 9, the government passed the law in the joint sitting of the parliament.
However, the president, a day earlier, rejected the bill amending the NAB Ordinance due to the “flaws in its implementation”. As a result, the bills will automatically become laws within 10 days.
Imran — explaining how the leaders of the two big political parties, the PPP and the PML-N would be “saved” after the changes — said the government amended section 14 of the law, which now states that a person will only be held accountable for the “money left in the fake accounts (when a person is arrested)”.
The PTI chairman said under the current tax laws, a person has to provide the trail of his money as the onus lies on them, not the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
But Imran said after the NAB law amendments, the watchdog will have to prove whether a person accumulated wealth illicitly — as the government has shifted the burden from the person to the watchdog.
The second change, Imran said was made to the “assets beyond means” — section 9 — of the NAB law, which will provide relief to “major government leaders”.
“If I am a public office holder earning an income of Rs50, then I will have to explain why I have assets worth Rs100 and where did I get the extra Rs50 from. But now, they have reversed the role and the NAB will have to explain how did a public office holder get extra assets,” he said.
Furthermore, he claimed that the amendments to section 21 have now made the information on foreign assets inadmissible — meaning that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz will get “clean chits” in Avenfield Fileds case.
Imran added that the government has now removed the investigation of money laundering cases from NAB’s ambit and has assigned them to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
“The FIA is already under the interior ministry’s control. How can we imagine that Rana Sanaullah will launch cases against Nawaz Sharif or Asif Zardari,” the PTI chairman questioned.
The PTI chairman said that the government has also allowed people to “make money” through the Benami accounts as they will not be held accountable for the money they make in the name of their families.
“Amendments made to these laws are worse than dropping a bomb on the country,” Khan said.
At the outset of his address, the former prime minister said Pakistan cannot progress with the prevalent corruption as justice was the key to a country’s development.
“Pakistan is a blessed country, but we have not reached our potential,” the ousted prime minister said.
He quoted Minister for Energy Khurram Dastagir Khan as saying that the coalition government wanted Khan out of power as he was about to put the current rulers behind bars by hiring more NAB judges.
Last week, Dastagir had admitted during an interview with a news channel that the coalition government leaders knew that there would be disqualifications on a massive level by the end of this year if things continued in line with Khan’s plans.
Khan said the then-opposition constantly “blackmailed” him into giving them an NRO and they were against passing legislation to meet the demands of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
“They walked out of the session for the passage of the bills after I declined to give them an NRO,” he said.