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Saturday June 15, 2024

NAB can now detain accused for 40 days as acting president signs new ordinances

NAB (Amendment) Ordinance 2024 reduces sentence duration for officers convicted for framing cases based on ill will

By Nausheen Yusuf
May 27, 2024
An undated image of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) building in Islamabad, Pakistan. — Online/File
An undated image of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) building in Islamabad, Pakistan. — Online/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) can now detain the individuals accused in cases under the anti-graft body for 40 days after acting President Yusuf Raza Gilani signed the NAB (Amendment) Ordinance 2024 on Monday.

The new ordinance has extended the period of remanding accused in NAB cases from 14 days to 40 days.

Moreover, the sentence duration for the officer convicted for framing cases based on ill will has been reduced to two years from five years.

Meanwhile, Gilani also signed the Election Act (Amendment) Ordinance 2024, which allowed the election tribunals to have retired judges as its members besides the serving jurists.

The promulgation comes after the federal cabinet’s approval of the amendments in the two ordinances.

The acting president signed the Election (Amendment) Ordinance 2024 and NAB (Amendment) Ordinance 2024 on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, as President Asif Zardari is currently in Dubai.

The development came ahead of the Supreme Court hearing of the NAB amendments case, which is slated to take place on May 30.

A three-member bench of the apex court, in September 2023, approved Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan’s petition challenging amendments made to the country’s accountability laws during the tenure of the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government.

Headed by then-chief justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, the court held more than 50 hearings and in its majority 2-1 verdict restored graft cases against public office holders that were closed down following the amendments.

The apex court ordered restoring all graft cases, worth less than Rs500 million against the political leaders belonging to different political parties and public office holders, which were closed and declared the amendments void.

The verdict provisioned far-reaching consequences as the striking down of the amendments would mean that references against some of the country’s political bigwigs will once again land in the accountability courts.

Following the verdict, the federal government filed an appeal under Section 5 of the Supreme Court law against the apex court’s order.