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Daily Briefs


Photo : The News

28 December 2019, Saturday

The government amends National Accountability Ordinance (1999) to “insulate the business community”



The first batch of dual seat J-17 aircraft hits the tarmac; PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto holds his first rally in Liaquat Bagh, celebrating Benazir’s death anniversary; An OIC meeting exclusively on the Kashmir Issue?

PR Daily Brief | D. Suba Chandran

28 December 2019, Saturday

The government amends National Accountability Ordinance (1999) to “insulate the business community”

In the news

The PTI government, through a Presidential Ordinance, amended the National Accountability Ordinance promulgated in 1999 by Gen Pervez Musharraf. The amendment would mean that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cannot pursue any case of corruption below the 500 million rupees, and aims to primarily protect the bureaucrats and business community. The amendment also prevents the NAB officials from issuing public statements and reduced the remand period to two weeks, from the existing three months.

Issues in the background

During the last few months, there have been reports about the government amending the National Accountability Ordinance passed during the Musharraf regime, and pursued by the subsequent democratic governments under the PPP and PML-N.

The primary reason for “insulating the business community” is due to the pressure from the community that the NAB actions has affected the ease of doing business in Pakistan, thereby also impacting external investments. This has been a powerful argument – both from the business community and the bureaucracy that the Ordinance has affected the movement of files, and thereby the business atmosphere.

Second, by “insulating the business community” the NAB will end up targeting only the political community – primarily the opposition. How the opposition will respond to this amendment will be an open secret.

Third, instead of debating the amendment in the Parliament, using the Ordinance route highlights the PTI government’s style of governance and political consultation. One could see a pattern during 2019, to avoid discussing issues of national importance the Parliament.

Fourth, reducing the remand period to 14 days from the exiting 90 days should be a welcome relief. Many leaders, including former ministers especially of the PML-N have been arrested by the NAB without bail, and let them languish in jail without filing any evidence for the arrest.

 

Also in the news…

The first batch of dual seat J-17 aircraft hits the tarmac

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra witnessed the first batch of dual-seat JF-17 aircraft, produced in collaboration with China. Pakistan’s Chief of the Air Staff, the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan and the Executive Vice President of Aviation Industries of China (AVIC) witnessed eight aircrafts being rolled out in Kamra.

 

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto holds his first rally in Liaquat Bagh, celebrating Benazir’s death anniversary

Thanks to the court verdict, Bilawal Bhutto could hold a PPP rally at the Liaquat Bagh, where her mother Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in 2007 December. The local government has refused permission to hold the rally, citing security reasons but had to yield to the PPP following a court order. Bilawal underlined the deletion of 800,000 plus names from the BISP list by the PTI government.

 

An OIC meeting exclusively on the Kashmir Issue?

Dawn in its editorial welcomed a news that Saudi Arabia is planning to hold an exclusive meeting on the Kashmir issue with foreign ministers of the Muslim countries. A news report on the same paper, a day earlier quoting a diplomatic source informed that “Saudi Arabia is planning to convene a meeting of the foreign ministers of member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for a discussion on the situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir.” Did the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia promise such a meeting, or the government feeding similar information for a local audience?

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