NAB Ordinance to relieve bureaucrats & businesspersons from fear: PM

PM Imran to chair session of parliamentary party today

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our correspondent
ISLAMABAD
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Thursday held one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan after arriving in Islamabad on a one-day official visit.
During the meeting, both the leaders discussed matters pertaining to mutual interests and cooperation in different fields. The premier also exchanged views with other UAE officials in delegation-level meeting. Frequent exchange of high-level visits between Pakistan and the UAE is reflective of the importance that the two countries attach to their fraternal ties.
The visit also illustrates the strength and substance of the Pakistan-UAE special relationship. The UAE is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and a major source of investments.
It is also among Pakistan’s prime development partners in education, health and energy sectors. UAE hosts more than 1.6 million expatriate Pakistani community, which contributes remittances of around $4.5 billion annually to the GDP. The visit of Crown Prince will contribute to further enhancement of multi-faceted collaboration between Pakistan and the UAE.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said Thursday the bureaucracy’s role in Pakistan’s developmental projects was restricted due to a fear of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Addressing a gathering of civil servants, the PM said the aim behind the NAB Amendment Ordinance 2019 was to save the bureaucracy from the anti-graft watchdog’s grasp over erroneous regulations. It was a difficult decision, he added.
The premier noted that the amendment was introduced to provide relief to bureaucrats and businesspersons. “I was informed that several senior bureaucrats did not want to indulge in mega [developmental] projects as they were afraid that the NAB might start an inquiry against them,” he said.
Highlighting that there had been a hue and cry over the ordinance without a detailed analysis of the amendment, he said reforms had to be introduced and the government chose to do so to help the civil servants work without the NAB’s fear.
“Besides, we have the FIA [Federal Investigation Agency] to hold them accountable,” he added.
Referring to the New Pakistan Housing Programme, the PM said the project’s aim to build 50,000 houses could not move forward without the bureaucrats’ help and support.
However, he stressed that any tax evasion cases were to be dealt by the NAB and not the FIA. “In democracy, we need political consultation and consensus and that is the only way to move forward.
“I have informed the NAB chief as well that we have come out of a very difficult time and the economy is finally stable,” he said.
Talking about moving ahead, he said Pakistan will move forward once there was investment in the country. “How will we get investment? By industrialisation, construction, and the 40 other industries that will work hand in hand with the latter.”
While pointing out how the country’s economy was now stable, the PM also stressed that Pakistan was under a lot of debt. “Since 2008, the country has procured a loan of Rs24 trillion.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned a session of the parliamentary party on today (Friday) in order to finalise strategy for the approval of the Army Act amendment bill from the Parliament.
The upcoming session of the parliamentary party will be chaired by PM Imran Khan tomorrow at 10:00 am. Sources said that the participants of the session will finalise strategy for the approval of the amended law for giving an extension of the services of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
The premier will also attend the session of the National Assembly tomorrow, sources added.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan summoned a meeting of spokespersons of the government and his political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The upcoming meeting of the spokespersons will be held at Prime Minister House in order to review the current political and economic situation of the country.
PM Imran Khan will also inform the new targets and priorities set by the federal government for 2020.
A detailed discussion will be held on the decisions taken by the federal government for price control. The spokespersons will also be informed by the government’s stance on the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Amendment Ordinance, sources added.
A briefing will be given on the draft bill for making amendment in Army Act that had been approved by the federal cabinet yesterday, whereas, the premier will apprise the government’s rhetoric in the meeting, sources said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the federal cabinet members had approved the amendment in Army Act which defines tenure of the army chief’s services and procedure for the extension of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
The emergency session of the federal cabinet held under the chair of Prime Minister Imran Khan has concluded after approving a draft bill for making amendment in the Army Act over the directives of the Supreme Court (SC).
Sources said the latest legislation has been approved to define the process of extension for COAS and the service period of an army chief. The Army Act’s amendment will also be applied on the Chairman of Joint Chiefs and Services Chief, sources added. It emerged earlier that the amended law will be tabled in the upcoming session of the National Assembly for its final approval.

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