Opposition wants NRO, to escape from accountability :Shahzad Akbar

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ISLAMABAD, Jul 29 (APP):Advisor to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Barrister Shahzad Akbar on Wednesday said that the leaderships of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan Peoples Party wanted National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) from the government.

Addressing a news conference alongwith with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Malaika Bukhari, he said opposition’s main purpose of proposing 34 amendments in National Accountability Ordinance 1999, “was to spare TT Sharif Family and Zardari and associates from the ongoing accountability.”

The opposition has dragged the bills languishing in Senate Standing Committee for the last six months to blackmail the government as law making was essential to meet Financial Action Task Force (FATF) deadline. He said the law making was essential to frustrate Indian efforts of pushing Pakistan into black list from the existing grey list.  “Pakistan was put into grey list in 2018 due to chain of events as the then rulers were himself involved in money laundering,” he added.

The advisor said,”There were two champions of ‘Charter of Corruption’ the PML-N and the PPP, responsible for Pakistan’s woes. Their deeds led to putting the country into grey list.”

The money laundering through Faluda Wala and corruption by using fake TTs were still fresh in our minds. Former Khadim e Ala Shahbaz Sharif used to present gifts to his wives with TT money. There was no law to check such corruption. After taking over the PTI government had constituted a task force to check money laundering by amending relevant laws.

The Advisor said the opposition has suggested that corruption cases of less than one billion rupees, wilful default or writing off loan, and offence of money laundering should stay out of NAB’s purview. He said opposition also wanted that accountability process should be started from 1999 and cases older than five years should not be taken up under NAB law. Besides, they wanted deletion of six offences from the ambit of NAB.

Shahzad Akbar said the government has proposed amendments in three bills for improving laws. The first bill suggest an amendment in Anti Terrorist Act 1997, to enhance punishment and fine up to Rs10 million. While another Bill titled The Mutual Legal Assistance Act had already been passed by National Assembly. The bill is languishing in Senate Standing Committee with the motive to blackmail the government by dragging it till August, as the government will not have enough time to bargain with the opposition for enacting FATF required laws to save the country going into blacklist.

The government was ready to sit with the opposition on any issue, but it will have to delink its person specific demands on FATF related legislation. The Advisor said the opposition also desires to make redundant the international mutual legal assistance law and dealing it under law of evidence of Pakistan. He said if the government gave nod to opposition’s amendments; their main beneficiaries will be former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shehbaz Sharif, former President Asif Ali Zardari, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal and Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah.

He said proposing 34 amendments in NAB law aimed at making anti graft watch dog inactive, adding that opposition wanted to quash NAB references against their top leadership.

The motive behind proposing to start Accountability from 1999, to exclude TT Sharifs and Zardari and co. from out of NAB’s Accountability purview.The corruption committed by PMLN and PPP in their two each terms before 1999 will be simply ousted from NAB’s jurisdiction if Accountability was started from 1999. The Chaudhry Sugar Mill case will also be closed, he added. He said opposition has suggested to make the offenders of money laundering non punishable whereas FATF demands strict legislation against the money laundering. Opposition in their amendments has proposed that the crime of money laundering should be dealt by Banking Courts.

Another proposal is to change the definition of Benamidars, giving free hands to make corruption in the name of wife and children. Yet another proposed amendment in NAB law suggests allowing convicts to contest elections till final disposal of their cases, disqualification should be up to only five years.

The Advisor said the opposition also desires to make redundant the international mutual legal assistance law and dealing it under law of evidence of Pakistan. He urged the opposition to set aside personal interests and help enacting required legislation to avoid putting the country into black list by FATF.
“They are seeking NRO which could be thrown in trash by the court. The government is ready to improve laws.

Speaking on the occasion, Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bukhari castigated the opposition on preferring personal interest over vital national interests.India wanted to push Pakistan into black list from grey list, she added.

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