Extending remand period: Saad Rafique demands withdrawal of NAB Ordinance

“This draconian law cannot be supported and, therefore, the ordinance should be withdrawn,” he said

By Bureau report & News Desk
May 29, 2024
PMLN leader Khawaja Saad Rafique addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — Online/File

ISLAMABAD/ PESHAWAR: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique on Tuesday said the approval of NAB (Amendment) Ordinance into law to extend the period of physical remand for a suspect from 14 days to 40 days was deplorable.


“This draconian law cannot be supported and, therefore, the ordinance should be withdrawn,” he said while reminding that the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance was formulated by a dictator. He said the ordinance was utilised for shameful political purposes and many innocent people fell victim to it.

The NAB Ordinance has been amended, under which the period of remanding accused in the NAB cases has been extended from 14 days to 40 days. Acting President Yusuf Raza Gilani signed two new ordinances, the NAB (Amendment) Ordinance 2024 and the Elections Act (Amendment) Ordinance 2024. He signed the ordinances on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, as President Asif Zardari is currently in Dubai.

The promulgation came after the federal cabinet approved the amendments to the ordinances. Under the amended NAB law, the sentence duration for an officer, convicted for framing cases based on ill will, has been reduced to two years from five years. After the promulgation of the Elections Act (Amendment) Ordinance 2024, the election tribunals will have retired judges as its members, besides serving jurists.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has also declared the recent amendments to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws as “inappropriate”. The MQM-P said that extending NAB’s authority to detain any suspect for up to 40 days, instead of 14 days, will not prove beneficial in any way. “It is also incomprehensible to reduce the punishment for officials who maliciously prosecute an individual from five years to two years,” according to the party.

The MQM-P added that the NAB laws and their misapplication have already caused irreparable damage to the country’s economy and politics. The amendments to this law need to be considered with extreme prudence, the party urged.

Meanwhile, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly approved a resolution against the Elections Act (Amendment) Ordinance 2024 under which election tribunals will have retired judges as members besides serving judges.

A legislator from the Sunni Ittehad Council/ Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Abdus Salam moved the resolution. The resolution read that the PTI believes in the independence and autonomy of the institutions, especially the judiciary so that the people could get speedy and inexpensive justice. It said the government, rejected by the people but installed through Form-47, had promulgated an ordinance in the dead of night and appointed retired judges in the tribunals.

The resolution accused the government of attacking the judiciary and wanting to have the judges of its choice, which was not acceptable to the KP government. It said the House rejected the ordinance and asked the government to take back the same. When the resolution was put to a vote, the treasury members voted in favour while the opposition went against it.