Tuesday Oct 12, 2021
Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former finance minister Miftah Ismail have turned down the opportunity to take relief under the Amended National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance 2021 in the LNG reference, Geo News reported Tuesday.
At the outset of the hearing at an accountability court in Islamabad, Abbasi — who is also the senior vice-president of PML-N — appeared before the court and was allowed to leave after marking his attendance.
During the hearing, the co-accused in the reference requested the dismissal of the reference under the Amended NAB ordinance.
Barrister Zafarullah, who was representing a co-accused in the reference, maintained that the Amendment NAB Ordinance has been promulgated, therefore, he will file a petition seeking acquittal on his client’s behalf.
He contended that the non-public officeholders have also been excluded from the amended ordinance after which the case will be dealt with by the tax tribunal if it includes an issue related to the tax.
Meanwhile, a private airline’s Chief Executive Officer Chaudhry Aslam, under the status of a "private person", pleaded before the court for the removal of his name from the reference.
At this, the NAB prosecutor argued that the exemption of cabinet affairs under the NAB Ordinance are applicable from October 6.
The court issued notice to NAB seeking a detailed reply and adjourned the hearing till October 26.
Earlier in the day, several people approached accountability courts in Islamabad seeking termination of fraud and other NAB cases.
The suspects are of the view that as NAB's jurisdiction has ended, all cases against them should be disposed of.
Last week, President Arif Alvi promulgated the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, under which the NAB Chairman Justice Javed Iqbal will continue to serve the post until a new chairman is appointed and will also be eligible to be renamed as chairman.
Under the new ordinance, the president has the authority to establish as many accountability courts in the country as he deems fit.
Judges to the accountability courts will be appointed for a three-year term, the ordinance states.
The NAB law will not extend to matters pertaining to federal, provincial and local taxation after such matters were removed from under its purview.
Furthermore, decisions pertaining to the Council of Common Interests, (CCI), National Economic Council (NEC), National Finance Commission (NFC) and Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), besides those of Central Development Working Party (CDWP) and Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) will also no longer fall within NAB's jurisdiction.