The Parliamentary Committee on National Accountability Laws failed to reach any consensus in its 17th meeting on Monday, as members of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the PPP objected over the nearly finalised National Accountability Commission (NAC) Bill.

The PTI pushed for accountability on both federal and provincial levels, while the PPP insisted that the proposed law should only be applicable to the federal government and its employees.

Law Minister Zahid Hamid claimed that the meeting ended without an outcome because the committee members had "other engagements". He also said that the committee had debated the definition of public servants to determine who would fall under the NAC's ambit.

Avoiding conflict between institutions

Last week, committee members from all political parties had unanimously withdrawn a suggestion to hold generals and judges accountable under the proposed law.

However, PPP's Naveed Qamar later said that the suggestion had been retracted because it might have led to conflict between state institutions. Furthermore, he said, every institution has its own accountability process.

PTI's Shireen Mazari, whose party had staged a walk-out in the previous meeting complaining that the government was not willing to consider their suggestions, today hinted at some compromise.

"The government has considered our suggestions today," Mazari said. She, however, warned that PTI chief Imran Khan plans to stage a sit-in if NAC "offers protections to the corrupt mafia".

The accountability law aims at leaving no ‘sacred cows’ untouched and has spent over a year on the drawing board.

However, earlier in October, the PTI and Muttahida Qaumi Movement had frustrated the nearly year-long process of drafting the legislation by taking a U-turn during the 13th meeting of the committee, shattering the consensus built around the nearly finalised bill.

MQM members had rejected the draft bill outright, while Mazari was of the view that the PTI would come up with its own recommendations for across-the-board accountability.

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