ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Law and Justice would soon send a summary to the prime minister so that he could take a decision about grant of extension, or otherwise, to sitting chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) retired Justice Javed Iqbal for another term of four years, sources said on Thursday.
The ministry has been working on a proposal in this regard and will forward it to the prime minister soon as the four-year term of Justice Iqbal as NAB chairman will expire this month.
A senior official of the ministry said that although the government had yet to take a final decision about the grant of extension to Justice Iqbal, “the law ministry is working on a proposal for the prime minister regarding promulgation of an ordinance for giving extension to (the sitting) NAB chairman”.
The summary, he said, would put relevant propositions before Prime Minister Imran Khan; it would not confine itself to grant of an extension but also suggest the legal case against such a move.
If PM decides to grant extension to retired Justice Javed Iqbal, law ministry will draft an ordinance
The sources further said that federal Law Minister Barrister Farogh Naseem is working on the proposal, which would be forwarded to the prime minister. It would be the premier who would take a final decision in this regard.
“In case the PM decides to grant extension to the NAB chairman, the law ministry will draft an ordinance to amend the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) and forward it to the president,” the sources said, adding that after promulgation this would become law, enabling the government to give an extension to Justice Iqbal.
According to the sources, the ministry has examined the law and in case the prime minister decides to grant an extension to Justice Iqbal, an amendment will be made in sub-section b of section 6 of the NAO.
Sub-section b of the NAO’s section 6 states: “There shall be a Chairman NAB to be appointed by the President in consultation with the [Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly] for a [non-extendable] period of [four] years on such terms and conditions as may be determined by the President and shall not be removed except on the grounds of removal of Judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan.”
The proposal suggested that the terms “non-extendable” may be substituted with the word “extendable” in the section mentioned to give the NAB chairman an extension.
When contacted, Law Minister Farogh Naseem refrained from commenting too much on the matter. He, however, described the “news” that his ministry had finalised a draft of an amendment to the NAO as “fake”.
Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2021