ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Law and Justice has initiated a process for the appointment of new chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and forwarded the summary to President Dr Arif Alvi for approval.

The term of incumbent chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal expired in October. However, the government has extended his term through a presidential ordinance.

The recent amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) allow the incumbent NAB chairman to continue until the appointment of a new chairman. Sources in the law ministry told Dawn that in the summary, the President had been requested to initiate the process of appointment of NAB chairman.

The government has extended Javed Iqbal’s term through an ordinance

The law ministry pointed out that in the light of a judgement of the Supreme Court, the President is supposed to consult the prime minister and the leader of opposition in the National Assembly for NAB chairman. The ordinance amended subsection b of section 6 of the NAO to give extension to the NAB chairman by excluding the word “non-extendable” from the statute.

NAO’s Section 5 says: “There shall be a Chairman, National Accountability Bureau, to be appointed by the President in consultation with the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.”

The sources said that although there was no timeframe to complete the meaningful consultation, in case the president felt that the prime minister and the opposition leader could not reach the consensus on a name, the President than can refer the matter to the parliamentary committee.

Clause (ii) of Section 5 of the NAO states that the committee shall be constituted by the Speaker of National Assembly comprising 50 per cent members from the Treasury benches and 50 per cent from the Opposition benches, based on their strength in Majlis-i-Shoora (Parliament), to be nominated by respective parliamentary leaders.

Clause (iii) provides that the parliamentary committee may confirm any name for appointment as chairman.

As per the amended NAO the total strength of the parliamentary committee shall be 12 members, out of which one-third shall be from the Senate.

“If the National Assembly is dissolved at the material time, all the members of the committee shall be from the Senate.”

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2021

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