NAB law amendments were “good legislation”; awaiting law deptt’s recommendation on SC decision: PM

ISLAMABAD, Sep 15 (Alliance News): Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Friday, calling the NAB law amendments made by the previous parliament and struck down by the Supreme Court a “good legislation”, said the government would decide its future course of action on the basis of law department’s recommendations.

The prime minister, in an interview with a private television channel, said in the form of accountability departments in provinces and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at the Centre, the country had different layers of accountability. There was a need to synchronise their functions and define TORs (terms of reference) for their powers.

“In this regard, I think it was a good legislation. Why the Supreme Court struck it down, we will see into the reasons and come up with our position after getting details,” he commented.

The prime minister said the accountability system was necessary for a functional democracy to keep a vigil on public office-holders, but any accountability process should not paralyse the system.

Asked whether the government would assist NAB if it sought custody of those whose cases were reopened after the Supreme Court verdict, including Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and others, the prime minister said the Federal Government had the constitutional duty to assist the department taking any legal action and it was out of question not to extend any such support.

Commenting about his NAB case, the prime minister requested the relevant department to conclude it and make all of its findings public.

About the crackdown on power theft and smuggling, he said a whole of government approach was adopted with the provinces’ collaboration and the policy was bringing in positive outcomes.

To a question about any crackdown on corrupt elements, he said the long term accountability was under the purview of accountability departments, as the caretaker government had a limited role of addressing prevailing issues of misgovernance.

The prime minister said besides acting against the power theft, the issues of non-payment and late payment of electricity dues would also be addressed under the ongoing drive. The government entities would also have to reconcile their payables with the power sector.

To a question, the prime minister said the currency was getting stable and tax collection was on the rise to have positive impact for the power consumers as well.

He said the government was in the process to rationalise the power sector to ensure that the electricity bills were not unbearable for the consumers after next few months.

Commenting about Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto’s reservations, he said the caretaker government was toeing a policy of providing a level playing field to all parties and complete the election process without fear or favour.

The prime minister rubbished the notion of any Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) appointees in his cabinet, and defended Privatisation Minister Fawad Hassan Fawad saying that he knew him since he was deputy commissioner in Quetta and that he also served the state in various capacities.

He told the interviewer that Fawad was his own choice and it was unfair to tarnish someone’s image in that way.

Discussing the timeline of the general elections, he said being a mandated body, the Election Commission would come up with a final date.

Asked whether the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief sought any deal, the prime minister ruled out any such development saying that such speculations were part of politics.

About any intention to start a national dialogue, Prime Minister Kakar said such a process should be organic and indigenous to be initiated by the political parties, intelligentsia, media, academia, bench and bar, civil society and other stakeholders.

Coming to the attack from Afghan side in Chitral, the prime minister said sons of the soil had sacrificed their precious lives to safeguard the country’s territory and that was why the terrorists could not occupy even a tenth part of a union council.

To another query, he said the legislation had been made to facilitate the privatisation of power Discos, Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Steel Mills and other state-owned enterprises.

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