Election tribunals to have retired judges now as acting president signs new ordinances

Yusuf Raza Gilani signs Election Act (Amendment) Ordinance 2024 and NAB (Amendment) Ordinance 2024

Nausheen Yusuf
Election tribunals to have retired judges now as acting president signs new ordinances
Acting President Yusuf Raza Gilani. — APP/File

  • New ordinance extends period of remanding accused in NAB cases.
  • Punishment of convicted NAB officers reduced to two years. 
  • Gilani signs ordinances as President Zardari not present in country. 

ISLAMABAD: Acting President Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday signed two new ordinances, the Election Act (Amendment) Ordinance 2024 and NAB (Amendment) Ordinance 2024.

After the promulgation of Election Act (Amendment) Ordinance 2024, the election tribunals will have the retired judges as its members besides the serving jurists.

Meanwhile, the NAB Ordinance extended the period of remanding accused in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases from 14 days to 40 days.

Moreover, the sentence duration for the officer convicted for framing cases based on ill will has been reduced to two years from five years.

The promulgation comes after the federal cabinet’s approval of the amendments in the two ordinances.

The acting president signed the Election (Amendment) Ordinance 2024 and NAB (Amendment) Ordinance 2024 on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, as President Asif Zardari is currently in Dubai.

The development comes ahead of the Supreme Court hearing of the NAB amendments case, which is slated to take place on May 30.

A three-member bench of the SC, in September 2023, had approved Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan’s petition challenging amendments made to the country’s accountability laws during the tenure of the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government.

Headed by then-chief justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, the court held more than 50 hearings and in its majority 2-1 verdict restored graft cases against public office holders that were closed down following the amendments.

The apex court ordered restoring all graft cases, worth less than Rs500 million against the political leaders belonging to different political parties and public office holders, which were closed and declared the amendments void.

The verdict provisioned far-reaching consequences as the striking down of the amendments would mean that references against some of the country’s political bigwigs will once again land in the accountability courts.

Following the verdict, the federal government filed an appeal under Section 5 of the Supreme Court law against the apex court’s order.