President Arif Alvi on Monday refused to approve the amendments in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law, calling the new legislation “regressive” in nature.
In a letter addressed to the prime minister, he said, “In view of the ‘deeming’ provision under Article 75 (2) of the Constitution of Pakistan, the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2022 will be enacted into law even if the President of Pakistan does not sign the Bill”.
Giving his reasons for his refusal to sign the bill, the president said, “I believe the Bill as passed by the Parliament is regressive in nature, it will promote corruption by ensuring that the long arm of the law has been crippled”.
According to Alvi, “It is also a message to the corrupt who have amassed tremendous wealth, of which there is no doubt in the minds of the people of Pakistan, that they are not accountable and are free to continue to plunder”.
He argued that through these amendments “the corrupt rich will remain free to continue with their blood sucking abhorrent practices”.
“Having weak accountability is against the basic rights of the people of Pakistan who are the suffering masses, and therefore, it is also against the fundamentals of our Constitution itself,” he went on to add.
Read: Alvi snubs electoral reforms, NAB bills
Speaking about the issues with the NAB law, Alvi said there were “flaws” in the law as observed by the judiciary.
“This law like all other laws vesting authority in the executive was abused for political exigencies by those in power. Because of this reason along with the role of vested interests, the accountability process in Pakistan became quite ineffective.”
“While the public clamoured for return of looted wealth, the long judicial processes involved, and ineffective prosecution actually made it very difficult to expose, prevent and eliminate corruption,” he lamented.
“A strong effort for improvement was desperately needed. Our experiences of the last few decades should have guided us; to modify the law, avoid its miscarriage, close the glaring loopholes and make it stronger,” he said, calling the changes to the law by the PML-N “least expected”.
He said that the efforts of some previous governments were dumped and the principle of accountability though upheld, was weakened beyond recognition.
“It is sad that rather than structurally improving the institution, the enactment of these amendments is like demolishing the process of accountability without an alternate system being in place, making it sterile and allowing extractive institutions and practices to prosper,” he said, adding, “Weak laws such as this one, create a facade of justice that blatantly hides a corrupt elite capture, and nations that accommodate such laws ensure a very damaging exploitation of the common man, perpetuating an unjust society.”
“I personally follow, uphold and abide by the Constitution of Pakistan, we must act upon the injunctions of the Quran and Sunnah, and above all, I am answerable to Allah and ask for His forgiveness. Therefore, I painfully state, that my conscience does not allow me to sign this Bill.”
A day earlier, Alvi refused to sign the bill pertaining to electoral reforms and also called it regressive.