Pakistani politicians out of anti-corruption purview


Islamabad : Pakistan is to amend its anti-corruption law to remove politicians from its purview.

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“There will be no victimisation of politicians and no politician will be arrested or disqualified under the law, the draft of which was finalised (Thursday) by the inter-ministerial committee of the cabinet,” Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan said in the National Assembly Thursday.

Awan was winding up a debate on a motion of thanks on President Asif Ali Zardari’s address to a joint session of parliament. The house unanimously passed the motion.

“The draft of the new accountability law … has been sent to the cabinet,” he said, adding the government was only fulfilling a promise it made under the Charter of Democracy on which it contested the 2008 elections.

According to Awan, “the chapter of NAB (National Accountability Bureau) has been closed forever and I want to assure the house that there will be no victimisation of politicians”.

Former military dictator Pervez Musharraf created the NAB through an ordinance he promulgated after seizing power in October 1999. It was meant to be Pakistan’s apex anti-corruption body.

Over the years, the NAB was widely perceived as targeting politicians whom the government considered inconvenient.

Awan said that a parliamentary committee with an equal number of members from the opposition and the treasury benches would be constituted to name the NAB’s new set-up, The News reported Friday.

“The decision making will be done by parliamentarians and parliament will not be bypassed,” he said.