Following the reported snub by the Chairman NAB of the incumbent PM by , I thought it would be a good idea to read through the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance and seek to find out if either NAB and/or its Chairman are subservient to the Executive arm of the Government, including the Prime Minister. The answer is a resounding NO, even though the NAB Ordinance needs to be strengthened to give it more teeth, Whilst the Chairman NAB is to be appointed through consultation between the PM and the leader of the Opposition, once appointed and during his 4 year tenure the Chairman owes no fidelity to the PM or to any other member of the Executive or to any other branch of the Government. And further it is stated in the Ordinance, that “the provisions of the Ordinance shall have effect notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force”, i.e., the provisions of the Ordinance override any other law in force in Pakistan.
So NAB, as per its Ordinance, is quite an Independent and powerful authority that can arrest and investigate and summon for inquiry ANYONE ANYTIME irrespective of whether they are Government Servants or holders of Public Office. It would be fair to say that the Authority of NAB and its Chairman are limited only by their lack of competence and will, both of which can be overcome. The worm can turn.
Now moving to our PM’s outbursts against NAB and his efforts to curtail the existing powers of NAB and its Chairman, they are quite futile, they are like the rocks which the high tide engulfs. and furthermore it is extremely unseemly and inappropriate of the PM to try to interfere in the workings of NAB to save his sycophants and/or himself and his brother, because we should not forget that both have cases outstanding in NAB, which are currently “stayed” because of the largesse showered by our Judicial system on the this particular family. It could at the same time be also illegal for the PM to indulge in these less than Democratic norms.
Article 31(a) of the Ordinance reads:
31. (a) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, if any person concerned with the inquiry 2[,] investigation and prosecution of a case consciously and deliberately and with malice 3* compromises, hampers, misleads, jeopardizes or defeats an 4[inquiry or]investigation of a case under process before NAB or any concerned agency or authority or the 5[Court or any other Court] he shall be 6[guilty of an offence under this Ordinance punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years].
So the PM could be facing 10 years RI for his infantile show of temper. I am sure he will come out a much slimmer man. That, for him, would be the positive way to look at it.