Govt mulling amendments to NAB laws, says law minister


–Naseem says power of bail will now be granted to trial court, no one will be allowed to abuse plea bargain or voluntary return options


ISLAMABAD: Federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem said on Wednesday that the government was considering amending the controversial National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws.

Naseem was addressing the media alongside Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan where he shared the ministry’s one-year performance report.

He said the power of bail will now be granted to the trial court under the amendments while it will be ensured that no one can abuse the plea bargain or voluntary return options.

Ever since the inception of the country’s top anti-graft body, NAB, the opposition parties have cried foul over its proceedings deeming it to be working at the behest of the sitting government.

This is not the first time Naseem has said the government would amend NAB laws as earlier on March 27, he had also shared planned to do so.

Naseem shared that the ministry drafted a total of 22 laws in the last one year to ensure speedy justice and enhance the efficiency of the judicial system. Seven bills, he added, had been passed with the remaining seven to eight were before the standing committees or the National Assembly for passage.

The ministry also rolled out eight ordinances, he said.

Naseem said the Standing Committee on Law passed the Civil Procedure (Amendment) bill which will ensure speedy trial of civil cases.

He said the cases, which earlier used to consume 30-40 years, will now be settled in a matter of one or one and a half year under this bill.

The law minister said the government had also formulated a bill to ensure issuance of succession certificate as early as 15 days.

He said the whistleblower act envisaged reward of 20 per cent for those who would help recover illegal wealth. Under this act, the law minister said, the name of information provider will be kept secret.

Naseem said a Legal Aid and Justice Authority bill will be introduced to provide free of charge legal aid to the poor, including women and children.

The Mutual Legal Assistance Bill, he added, will regulate the procedure for rendering and soliciting mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

The law minister said the Pakistan Code envisaging 848 laws had been uploaded on the website of the law ministry which could be accessed by everyone.