In a major development, accountability courts have withdrawn major corruption cases against the accused, including prominent PML-N and PPP leaders.
According to the details, accountability courts have returned around 50 corruption references owing to the amendments in the National Accountability Bill (NAB).
A reference issued to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and son Hamza Shehbaz on Ramzan Sugar Mills case has been sent back to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). In 2018, NAB accused Shehbaz of issuing a directive while being Punjab’s chief minister for the construction of a drain in district Chiniot for the use of Ramzan Sugar Mills, which is owned by his sons Hamza and Suleman. NAB has said Rs200 million was spent for this purpose from public money.
Similarly, an accountability court returned six rental power plant (RPP) references against National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf back to NAB, declaring them not maintainable under the fresh changes in the related law. The six references included those of Reshma, Gulf, Samundri, Ratu Dero, and Satyana rental power projects.
The Universal Services Fund (USF) reference against PPP Senator Yousaf Raza Gillani in which he was accused of misusing authority in an illegal publicity campaign, was also returned.
NAB reference against Senator Saleem Mandviwala and Ejaz Haroon in the Kidney Hills plots allotment case has also been returned.
Amendments in NAB law
Last month, the National Assembly passed the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act, 2022 with a majority vote, amending the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 (NAO).
Under the new amendments, the offense of corruption and corrupt practices as per the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999, will be tied to the value of Rs500m. To clarify, NAB will have no jurisdiction to proceed in corruption cases involving less than Rs500 million. Therefore, cases were reviewed to decide which ones to pursue and which ones to close as per the amendment.
Pertinent to mention that PTI has been extremely critical of the amendments and accused the incumbent government of an NRO-2.
پچھلے 5ماہ میں امپورٹڈ حکومت نےعوام کےفائدہ کاکوئی 1 کام بھی نہیں کیا لیکن رجیم چینج سازش کے تحت اقتدار میں آتے ساتھ ہی نیب قوانین میں ترامیم کرکے NRO 2 لے لیا۔ اب تک نیب عدالتیں رمضان شوگر ملز شہباز شریف، حمزہ سمیت راجہ پرویز اشرف ، یوسف رضا گیلانی سمیت 50 ریفرنسسز واپس ہوگئے ہے https://t.co/097cXujpFA
— Farrukh Habib (@FarrukhHabibISF) September 17, 2022
An imported Govt came into power with sole purpose of granting themselves an NRO-2, to evade accountability from NAB cases worth 1100 billion.
A 70 member incompetent cabinet is unable to provide any solution to the common Pakistani, who continues to suffer.#EconomicMeltdown https://t.co/svNpP0rxB1
— Maleeka Ali Bokhari (@MalBokhari) September 16, 2022