Commenting on the formation of an independent commission to look into the affairs of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), many legal experts are of the opinion that the government cannot reduce powers of the Bureau through executive orders.
A local news agency, citing senior legal experts said that the incumbent government cannot make a commission on an independent institution unless they introduce an amendment in the NAB Law. They said, however, that the government could completely dismiss NAB which was constituted by former president Pervez Musharraf or bring an amendment for a commission through parliament’s approval.
The agency, quoting Supreme Court Bar Association President Barrister Ali Zafar, former president of the bar Ali Ahmed Kurd and Ahmed Raza Qasoori, said that another option available to the government is to remove the NAB chairman from his post under Article 209 of the constitution by sending a reference to the Supreme Judicial Council.
Barrister Ali Zafar said the government can make legislation with simple majority for NAB affairs but it will be illegal and unconstitutional to issue executive orders in this regard. He further said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should not have spoken against an independent institution, adding that his statement made the role of NAB suspect.
Ali Ahmed Kurd said that NAB is a constitutional institution and its head was selected through proper procedures. He was of the opinion that NAB’s activities in Punjab, which is the largest province of the country, can create difficulties for the ruling PML-N.
Senior legal expert Ahmed Raza Qasoori said the government is considering reducing powers of NAB as if it feels that the anti-graft authority could hold it accountable. He said that the time of the government is up as many cases including the Model Town incident case will be opened against it.
Senior legal expert Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta said the government has no option but to legislate their way out of this. How would they take action against the chairman who was handpicked by the prime minister himself along with the leader of the opposition, he questioned.
He further said that any reference sent against NAB would be challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.