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KARACHI: Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair on Friday returned with objections the bill the Sindh Assembly had passed earlier this month to repeal the applicability of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999 in the province.

Titled the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 Sindh Repeal Bill, 2017, it was approved by the provincial assembly on July 3.

The governor sent back the bill to Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah with a dissenting note, saying that elimination of corruption was the responsibility of all and the repeal of the accountability law was thus in contrast with the interests of people.

According to sources, the governor quoted Article 143 of the Constitution, a ruling of Peshawar High Court and the Geneva Convention under which a provincial government cannot strike down a federal law.

The governor returned another bill passed by the provincial assembly also on July 3. The Sindh New Captive Power Plant Subsidy Bill, 2017 was for entitling captive power plant owners to cover the difference of tariff per unit through a subsidy by the Sindh government for 10 years and that to extendable by just a gazette notification.

The chief minister regretted over the action of the governor and accused him of trying to impose the monopoly of the federal government over the province so that it could use the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for harassing the people of Sindh.

Mr Shah said that under the rules the Sindh government would again send the bills to the assembly for consideration because under the 18th Amendment in the Constitution it was the right of the provincial government to carry out such legislation.

The repeal bill was tabled by Law Minister Ziaul Hasan Lanjar and Sindh Advocate General Barrister Zamir Ghumro briefed lawmakers about the need to repeal the accountability law.

It was passed amidst strong protest by opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly which had staged a walkout from the house.

Opposition leaders announced to go to the court against the bill and appealed to the governor not to sign it.

After the walkout from the assembly on July 3, Leader of the Opposition Khwaja Izharul Hassan told reporters that the bill had been passed in haste after NAB announced that it would expand the scope of its investigation against corruption and irregularities in different departments of the Sindh government, especially in Karachi.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2017