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President Mamnoon Hussain on Saturday night passed an ordinance to disbar for life public office holders and government servants who seek to benefit from the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) plea bargain and voluntary return laws.

The ordinance will be enforced from tomorrow (Sunday), and presented to the Senate and parliament for their review on Monday.

"The Supreme Court had asked the government for its stance on the plea bargain law," Finance Minister Ishaq Dar earlier in the day said while speaking during the government's press conference to announce the ordinance.

"We had to draw the line somewhere."

"We were being criticised for not disqualifying public office holders and government servants from office if they opted for plea bargain," Law Minister Zahid Hamid added.

Explaining the new law, Hamid said, "Voluntary return and plea bargain provisions have now both been merged."

"In both cases, an individual who wants to return the amounts embezzled will require court approval and will be deemed to be convicted; if he is a holder of public office, he will be dismissed and disqualified from holding that public office for life, " Hamid explained, adding that the same would apply to government servants.

To a question whether this change in law can be applied to past cases, Ishaq Dar said: "The law cannot apply to past cases. It is applicable either effective immediately or on future cases."

The finance minister noted that there had been considerable criticism from civil society, the political opposition and judiciary on Section 25-A of the NAB Ordinance, which allowed corrupt individuals to return to their posts after making a plea bargain with NAB.

The government in response suggested this tightening in accountability laws, ministers present at the press conference said.

Hamid, while speaking before a Senate standing committee on Jan 2, had said the government would review the NAB Ordinance keeping in view the growing criticism regarding plea bargain and voluntary return.

The law minister had said this after committee members, following intense deliberations, recommended that the NAB Ordinance of 1999 be reviewed.

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1


Comments (102) Closed



Saad Jan 07, 2017 03:48pm

What a joke

Talha Jan 07, 2017 03:49pm

Who would want a government job any way after looting billions and retutning a few millions!

Shazad Jan 07, 2017 03:51pm

Good and valid question: 'To a question whether this change in law can be applied to past cases' ... but corruption saving answer: Ishaq Dar said: "The law cannot apply to past cases. It is applicable either effective immediately or on future cases."'

Questionnaires (and Pakistani as nation) should have realized that those who looted and plundered them, they are untouchables, and can keep looting and plundering them with immunity. If not, then many big fishes, who should rot in jail and their wealth confiscated, would stop swimming, that is unacceptable to big sibling fishes.

Skeptic Jan 07, 2017 03:52pm

Disbarring someone from holding the same office they are found guilty of is one thing. What will prevent them from hold a different position, role, title or move to a different jurisdiction to continue their nefarious activities?

Why not just ban them from holding any public office for life - if they have proven to betray the public trust even once!? Send them to jail, fine them, and then bar them from any public office or even running as MP for life will go a long way towards deterrence of crooked people using their power and position for personal gain. And that accountability and impeachment has to begin from the top.

Mahmood Jan 07, 2017 03:57pm

You cannot return to the same post after paying a fine or plea bargain. But you can surely get an even more powerful post, and rob even more next time!?? Defies logic.

What are these people thinking???

ABE Jan 07, 2017 04:07pm

Government officials, especially in the service of the Federal government have far greater responsibility and held to an even higher standards of ethnics, propriety, trust and accountability than others.

In the US, anyone found guilty of violating Federal Law, is considered a 'Felon' - a a serious offense, which can land you in a whole lot of troubles. Not only can you never run for public office, as disgraced government employee, but even finding a suitable private responsible job, decent housing, ability to vote or even get loan to buy a house or car becomes extremely difficult - that is if you even manage to remain out of prison.

If you found guilty of a very serious crime of breaking public trust or treason, not only you end up in prison for a very very long time, buy you can even loose your citizenship.

But hey, this is Pakistan. We've never heard of accountability, ethics, or penalties that will deter anyone from doing something like robbing the people. Have we!?

M. Malik Jan 07, 2017 04:10pm

The uncouth clumsy blunders of this government, never cease to amaze me!

This ordinance was no doubt drafted in the middle of the night, by the Finance Minister, instead of the Law Minister of this government. Makes no sense at all!

Sami ullah Jan 07, 2017 04:16pm

The clause should be applied on each and every one ,politicians should not be barred from it .

Wajih Uddin Qidwai Jan 07, 2017 04:43pm

Woooow Great step.. First Earn Money.. Then Invest it and earn Profit and finally return it to Government.. Such a Joke Why is not applied on normal street criminals. If they also return the stolen assets then would they be able to go home and live freely? Why discrimination?

Adnan Jan 07, 2017 04:45pm

Still not good enough!!!

Shahid Jan 07, 2017 04:56pm

Dust in the eyes. This Corruption deputy chef Daar think that the Nation is so fool that he will be able to make them fool. Just saving the partners who have already benefited. A person who already steal millions and billions, do he need to be in any office ?

Waykii Jan 07, 2017 04:59pm

Another lolipop to the nation , when corruption is the more problematic in Country than terrorisim yet there is no concept of putting a corrupt person behind the bars.

Justice Jan 07, 2017 05:01pm

I bet this action will be taken after the outcome of general election. I doubt very much that they will act whilst in power or till such time the outcome of corruption cases against PML-N are known. Govt is pretending to give an impression that they really want to get rid of corruption and punish culprits.

Justice Jan 07, 2017 04:58pm

@Mahmood ... they are fooling Pakistanis like they have always done.

Khan Jan 07, 2017 04:59pm

Charity begins at home... nothing will happen to anybody who involved in Pakistan corruption...

Khanm Jan 07, 2017 05:01pm

Folks the irony is disbar ban or what ever term they use is all nonsense..Law are made but meant not to be implemented..When zardari can be the prisident and NS can be the prime minister..Do we need to go any further. Besides if you charge any elite.we have the burden of proof.. Folks..Wherever any precept of traditional morality is simply challenged to produce its credentials, as though the burden of proof lay on it, we have taken the wrong position..

fahd Jan 07, 2017 05:16pm

Good move

Badar janjua Jan 07, 2017 05:19pm

This is another gateway of corruption. It should not pass otherwise all corrupt and so on will go through this door and enjoy their lives somewhere else. Shame mr ishaq Dar.

Gabbar is back Jan 07, 2017 05:19pm

great...now the people who looted money and will be barred will invest in elections and become parliamentarians. GIVE THEM SEVERE PUNISHMENT, SHOULD BE BARRED FROM ALL POSTS AND SHOULD RETURN MONEY IN FULL WITH INTEREST.

Javaid Jan 07, 2017 05:25pm

Corrupt to the core, the country is going backwards and no one seems to care about an ordinary person. I wish this nation to realise the duty towards next generation. The politicians we choose have no morals, self respect and humanity. Most of them are worst then animals.

Javaid Jan 07, 2017 05:22pm

The cure is French style revolution.

Falcon1 Jan 07, 2017 05:30pm

There should be a law in Pakistan that bars anyone from holding public office for life , for sheer Stupidity!

These ordinances are nothing but window dressing that will allow corrupt to never fear going to jail - as long as they rob enough to pay half of it in plea bargains are enjoy the loot for rest of their lives. Nothing but daylight robbery by any other name.

Gerry D'Cunha Jan 07, 2017 05:30pm

We are becoming a laughing stock before the world of our stupid and idiotic decision.

Shahid Jan 07, 2017 05:40pm

Are they saying there is no such provision in the Constitution already that they have to pass an ordinance? No wonder corruption and plundering is alive and well. If so, people have no right to complain or protest. Cat is away so why can't mice play?

Taimoor KHAN Jan 07, 2017 05:38pm

"The law cannot apply to past cases. It is applicable either effective immediately or on future cases."

Absolute disgrace and joke.

ggfh Jan 07, 2017 05:42pm

Start with your boss, the joke has gone far enough

Zaheer Hassan Jan 07, 2017 05:43pm

This ordinance must apply retroactively to make it fair otherwise the government would be perceived as protecting certain corrupt officials in the past.

Zia ur Rehman Jan 07, 2017 05:49pm

Why not to apply sitting in offices currently and have saved billions after plea bargains ? At least send them home without benefits of retirement. This government will protect corruption to an extent which she can. It's only Supreme Count pressure . Even then this government wants corrupt bureaucrats with plea bargain in the past to continue to work for them.

Shahid Jan 07, 2017 05:51pm

@Taimoor KHAN Joke? It is. Disgrace? What is that?

Asif A. Shah Jan 07, 2017 05:51pm

A positive step, although, a small one. Who says that this government is deaf to criticism?

Houlbelat Jan 07, 2017 05:57pm

Give them even a harsher sentence, they would still be happy for their next several generations living in royal luxuries.

Merchant Jan 07, 2017 05:59pm

Why not jail them for life!! Otherwise they will have a life of luxury overseas with the black money!! What a big joke this government is!!

Muhammed ali Jan 07, 2017 06:11pm

Not good enough...you do wrong you get punished....simple..NO MIDDLE GROUND. You should not do wrong in the 1st place....pay back the money swindled pay a fine and go to jail....watch corruption vanish.

asad Jan 07, 2017 06:13pm

This is a joke. Even talking about these getting back to work is felony. They should be put in prisons or some kind of rehabilitation centre because their influence on their children will be bad and consequently on society as whole.

Arshad khan . . Jan 07, 2017 06:32pm

It was already expected from this corrupt government. Shame. Please NO PLEA BARGAIN. Here laws are made to give legal cover to the corrupt people. Thats why IK demands for a change to clean this country from corrupt politicians who are making laws for their own benefit.

Imran Jan 07, 2017 06:33pm

Nothing this Nawaz league government does gives me any hope. They are corrupt to the core.

syed zafar kazmI U.S Jan 07, 2017 06:33pm

@Skeptic Yes, I totally agree with you. Those convicted of loot & plunder must be treated no better than an ordinary, common thief. Why this half hearted rather favorable treatment to them although their crime & magnitude is multiple times more than an ordinary mugger or thief. They must serve a heavy jail time or it is just a slap on the wrist. Govt. have some character, some spine once in a while.

Shiraz Jan 07, 2017 06:35pm

A very good move by the Government but it must be in the hands of Courts, especially SC, HC and then of course ECP. Start it from home and fast , All who bargained, NAB has to provide up to date list to SC, a hull bench to order :- 1) Recovery of full wealth and assets. 2) All to go to Jail. 3) All to be disqualified including family members, brothers/Sisters 4) Alls particulars be published area wise for easy tracking. 5) All NAB people took share, must return in full and who have been working with culprits, must go to jail.

There are some more measures but for the immediate action, enough to start with.

Masood Hussain Jan 07, 2017 06:40pm

Yes, we can change the law now as the SHARIF Family is safe.

Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Jan 07, 2017 06:37pm

Is this a joke? If someone has already loted billions and got a clean chit. Why in the world would he be wanting to be part of the government. Honestly this PML-N government is becoming a laughing stock.

Ahsan gul Jan 07, 2017 06:46pm

Again another layer to satisfy public that parliament and justice system is working. Looting public money is a crime and the perpetrators must return all back, spend time in jail and then be barred for life for any public job or elections.

Khan USA Jan 07, 2017 06:50pm

Why not implement this new law on the culprits who have already made the plea bargain ? Those who looted millions and are still working in their powerful ,influential and money minting positions should be also expelled from their offices and sent to jail !

Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Jan 07, 2017 06:50pm

Not a bad deal for the Corruption King's of our countrt. Bravo PML-N. You have officially made our country a banana republic.

Khan USA Jan 07, 2017 06:51pm

This law will put a safety wall for those who have in past made the plea bargain deals and are still enjoying the power and offices to mint money !

Khan USA Jan 07, 2017 06:56pm

Why someone would come forward and make a plea bargain and return all money , loose his job and go to jail ? Those who have earlier confessed their crimes and returned money under plea bargain should also be dismissed from jobs and sent to jail . In US plea bargain only reduces the jail time but does not give them clean chit to continue plundering the state exchequer and poor public for ever !

Agha Hasan Ahmed Jan 07, 2017 06:59pm

How about converting this joke of an Ordinance into a real Act of Parliament?

Amir Jan 07, 2017 07:02pm

What a load of crap...like they would really need to work any more...they will have enough stashed to party for life

LAHORI KID Jan 07, 2017 07:05pm

How about loan write offs that cost the country billions ?

Truth Jan 07, 2017 07:08pm

Sometimes, I wish we were living out there in the American old west, where law was the Sheriff, and justice was swift.
You didn't bother with trial, lawyers, witnesses or judges. The judge was the Colt-45 or Smith and Wesson...You commit a crime, and you pay for it instantly. No plea bargain or slap on the wrist. The only question that was asked after the fact was: 'Who'?

shehzad younus Jan 07, 2017 07:07pm

it will make NAB officials and other accountability officials more prone to blackmail govt servants.....

LAHORI KID Jan 07, 2017 07:07pm

I am amazed at how these leaders can pass a bill and keep a straight face.

Iqbal khan Jan 07, 2017 07:22pm

Ridiculous! The ruling class is not sincere to the nation. Why not applicable to the past convicts who have plundered the nation in billions and still enjoy their portfolios.

Ahmed bin Babar Jan 07, 2017 07:33pm

This is another lucrative lifelong Golden handshake...

zafar ahmed Jan 07, 2017 07:35pm

Only disqualify & disbar for life public office holders and government servants only , why not for imprisonment for life on corruption charges !

Aslam Shaikh1 Jan 07, 2017 07:35pm

now our leaders will aim for big deals in couple of billion rupees. then they will give half to NAB and take half outside to Dubai.

Waqas Jan 07, 2017 07:42pm

Corrupt will never make a law which will will punish them in the future.....they will make laws which will allow them, if ever caught to plea bargain , return some money and then live a comfortable life in Dubai with the rest of their illegal wealth.

Mirza sahiban Jan 07, 2017 07:44pm

Easy to say, hard to do and who will tie the bell around cat's neck?

Sixer from Chakwal Jan 07, 2017 07:48pm

what about NRO Nawaz sharif did with musharraf, it was kind of plea bargain too

gulshan banoo Jan 07, 2017 07:51pm

@Javaid Why, then, elect them? You get the PM and the MNAs you deserve & vote for.

imran Jan 07, 2017 08:00pm

ordinance ..... joke .......again free way to go and spent shareef life among general citizens again these corrupt people leave the way for themselves to avoid the jail time

Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Jan 07, 2017 08:00pm

@gulshan banoo : elections are rigged specially in Panjab and Interior Sindh

Ali Jan 07, 2017 08:11pm

Any reason why it can not be applied to past cases?

S.R.H. Hashmi Jan 07, 2017 08:21pm

How come the government does not move until it is prodded by the court on the matter.

And how come the govt could not see this glaring immorality earlier and on its own. This is because being up to its neck in corruption - which appears to be the sole interest and occupation of the government - it has lost all sense of right and wrong.

It was the Supreme Court which forced the government to hold local body elections and again it was under court pressure that the government made a firm commitment on the holding of the much delayed national population census.

And now the Supreme Court is probing the corruption of the 'Royal family' and the best brains of the so-called 'respectable profession' are doing their best to save leaders' ill-gotten wealth, looted from the population a large percentage of which lives below the poverty line. And neither the leaders nor their defenders feel even the least bit ashamed over their conduct and seem to be busy helping each other out.

Karachi

Agha Ata Jan 07, 2017 08:24pm

New nations should learn from old and experienced countries who have tons of experience. We do depend on them for scientific and other technical things all the time. But in other matters, I don't know why our vanity is swollen so big that it does not subside at all and we like to do what we think SHOULD be right and then we become losers. When are we going to learn to learn from others? Must we always pee on a naked wire ourselves to experiment?

Zaheer Hassan Jan 07, 2017 08:28pm

It will be useless unless it applies retroacively.

ali Jan 07, 2017 08:38pm

If the Govt is really serious then law should for past cases as well otherwise its a white wash. I believe govt is trying to give clean chit all the past criminals,

Masoud Jan 07, 2017 08:44pm

What a crude joke. Abolish plebargain rightaway. As per new ordinance the person will be banned for life, what about his son he will take the baton of corruption from his father, win win situation. Corrupts cannot stop corruption. PTI is the answer because only this party is fighting war against corruption. Most of others are beneficiaries.

Qamar Jan 07, 2017 08:48pm

This is just a cover-up. The corrupt should serve mandatory jail time. Just disqualification from public office is not enough.

Dr. SalariA, Aamir Ahmad Jan 07, 2017 08:56pm

What other options do they have?

Maverick Jan 07, 2017 08:58pm

a very good thing

Nazir Jan 07, 2017 09:02pm

Plea bargains apply in the western world as well. There the individual either turns approver and therefore is then given a lighter sentence, but is sentenced nevertheless. In financial corruption cases there is no plea bargain. The looted amount is recovered in full and the accused sentenced to a jail term. We are unique, loot, get caught, return part of the looted amount and go scot free, to loot again.

Shah G Jan 07, 2017 09:07pm

The dawn readers you should'nt be amazed to this extent, this is not happening for the first time,any law which is formulated is commonly benificial for the corrupt in power, and all this messy stuff is nothing new, all the same is being done since the very first day of independence. what i am really concerned is all about readers, their astonishing behavior after reading such a stuff is realiy amazing and worth-noting. No doubt this is a country where corrupt and elite is in safe hands as all the government officials are on the same page, as we know pessimists and wrong doers are unluckily practicing consensus and the optimists and honest are not making any consensus which can benefit them.

mian Jan 07, 2017 09:24pm

Why not behind bars for life?? They want to make sure they will stay safe in future from harsh punishment. Disqualification??? what a joke. Most of our parliamentarians are not qualified to be members.

DARA KHAN Jan 07, 2017 09:27pm

TAKE BRIBE 100 CRORE---GIVE 1 CRORE BACK TO NAB AND ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR LIFE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES. I LIKE THAT !!

Merchant Jan 07, 2017 09:58pm

The ministers are simply protecting themselves and their looted wealth!! This is one reason why successive governments want to keep the nation illiterate so that no body can question such frauds!!

Muhammad Jan 07, 2017 10:17pm

It is very clear that government institutions are systematically and legally promoting corruption. What difference would it make if a top corrupt official can't hold the same office ? He can be appointed to another office with even bigger corruption opportunities!! Win win situation for corrupts.

Marghoob Siddiqui Jan 07, 2017 10:29pm

Plea bargain was the easiest way to embezzle public money and save themselves from punishment.

ashar Jan 07, 2017 11:01pm

Looks like face saving move

isb Jan 07, 2017 11:23pm

Time to come out on streets against this corrupt mafia government.

Shehzad notkani Jan 07, 2017 11:26pm

Not so good, There should have been strict punishment against corrupted persons for doing such worst doings.

ali Jan 08, 2017 12:20am

If they are really serious then they should include all the past cases.

Zia Jan 08, 2017 01:03am

LOLLLL "The law cannot apply to past cases. It is applicable either effective immediately or on future cases." DOes 10 year count as past? I believe they should atleast cover all post Zia era but then Imran and Asad Umer will sit alone in the assembly.

Zia Jan 08, 2017 01:08am

@Mahmood They are thinking to fool Pakistan once again as they very well know that if they are alive they will plunder Pakistans wealth and rob Pakistanis of their hard earned incomes. What else do you expect of thieves.

Faisal Jan 08, 2017 01:40am

This should be retroactive so half of our current lawmakers can go home.

Faisal Jan 08, 2017 01:44am

This is what we can call government's NRO with itself. Past is past and has been forgiven. Truth always prevails, so there's no such thing as leaving past behind and moving on. It will still haunt you no matter what laws you pass.

Zaheer Hassan Jan 08, 2017 01:49am

It will be useless unless it applies retroactively. If that happened many of the current government officials would be disqualified for life.

Alba Jan 08, 2017 02:10am

@Skeptic .... In order to save themselves Pakistan's citizens need to see a new constitution written by honest legislators. The present constitution is riddled with loop holes and moth holes.

Shiraz Jan 08, 2017 02:25am

First start from home, you, pm, cm and your ministers be declared disqualified, they all come under this ordinance.

Alba Jan 08, 2017 02:29am

@asad ... The government could just as easily change the law to a mandatory two year prison sentence with restitution of the stolen money. If they don't pay 80% of it back they serve an additional five years in prison.

Alba Jan 08, 2017 02:37am

@Arshad khan . . .... As things are they can hire very expensive lawyers with stolen public money. Lawyers who arrange the plea bargains. The real problem is with the criminal courts. Prosecuting attorneys for the state have been neutered to accept any plea bargain the defense wants. It is supposed to be the prosecutor who offers a plea bargain by forcing the terms he wants on the defendants. This is no bargain for The Government of Pakistan or Law and Order in Pakistan. It is an affront to the legal system. Defense lawyers are offering government prosecutors deals. If prosecutors are taking money from the defendants they must be sacked.

reX mINOR Jan 08, 2017 02:39am

The ordanace is unlawful and will be challenged i acourt of law.

Rex Minor

Alba Jan 08, 2017 02:40am

@Dr. SalariA, Aamir Ahmad .... What other options do you have as a citizen? Think of some.

Alba Jan 08, 2017 02:46am

@Qamar .... The Parliament and top officials don't want to see their relatives sent to prison.

syed & syed Jan 08, 2017 03:28am

When proved that crime of corruption, kick backs and or getting money to unfair recommendations etc are crimes. The remedy is to confiscate all his properties and bank accounts. Debarring from government service is not the answer because he will enough money to start his own business or buy flats in London and Dubai etc.In my opinion there is a lacuna in the ordinance. Prima facia the ordinance is protect some friends of kings forces.

Smart Solutions Jan 08, 2017 03:31am

That many translate into resignation of many culprits from their existing official position? Would that happen after all?

Ali HashmI Jan 08, 2017 04:06am

Who would need govt job after looting billions of rupees. They should go to prison instead even after recovery. That is totally absurd law .....but anything can happen in pakistan.

Akhtar Jan 08, 2017 04:13am

This ordinance will even promote more corruption.

Nadeem Jan 08, 2017 04:26am

Anyone who's caught looting must go to jail...plea bargain must be out of question..

Alijaan Jan 08, 2017 05:23am

Purely done to please supreme court as it has requested government s view on plea bargaining. Why not just completely ban it??

Illawarrior Jan 08, 2017 07:42am

@Shazad No, it doesn't mean they can continue to do it, as any new fraudulent event constitutes a new case, thus covered by the new legislation. Every instance generates its own charge.

Illawarrior Jan 08, 2017 07:54am

@Ali Probably yes, though it could be worth challenging. The legal framework in most countries, says that if something was legal at the time you did it, subsequent legislation, making it illegal does not apply. However in this case, what they did was ALWAYS illegal, it is only the punishment that is in question here. Corruption, past or present, should result in instant dIsmissal.

Akbar Jan 08, 2017 12:49pm

Still there is ambiguity because there's no clear cut willingness to punish those who exploit the country. If there had been a real realization to curb such deformation in the NAB law then why the new ordinance is not applicable to past cases. This is exactly similar to plea bargain for the past culprit s who will take advantage through new non understand able laws.