KARACHI: The government of Sindh has moved closer towards repealing the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 within the province, and table an amendment in the Sindh Assembly.
The decision was unanimously made in the cabinet meeting on Friday chaired by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. The ordinance led to the formation of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to eradicate corruption and corrupt practices.
A draft of the proposed bill stimulates that anti-corruption is the responsibility of the provinces, and any action undertaken by the federation will be deemed unconstitutional.
The draft bill states that any amendment to anti-corruption laws will be undertaken by the provincial assembly, which can also repeal legislation by the federation. Also, two different acts of legislation also cannot be imposed on the province.
The Sindh government will undertake all cases of corruption within the province, while NAB will transfer all ongoing cases to the provincial courts. The witnesses of the cases will not be summoned again. NAB will also expedite to dismiss appeals against ongoing cases,while further appeals and applications will be dealt under relevant provincial laws.
The cabinet was informed that the ordinance was introduced on October 14, 1999 when a state of emergency was imposed and a Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) was promulgated which was also made applicable on the provinces.
It was subsequently included in the schedule IV of the constitution along with Local Government Ordinance (LGO) 2001 and Police Order 2002 in order to prevent provinces from repealing or amending it.
The cabinet was informed that the proclamation of emergency of October 14, 1999 and PCO were declared unlawful by parliament and even schedule VI of the constitution was omitted under the 18th Amendment.
The meeting was informed that the federation has legislated three subjects – local government, police order, and eradication of corruption – to the provinces. The LGO 2001, Police Order 2002 have already been repealed or amended by the provinces.
The cabinet further told that provincial assembly can revoke or repeal any law imposed under emergency legislation after six months.
Therefore, the Sindh cabinet, after briefing by Law Minister Ziaul Hassan Lanjar and Advocate General Zamir Ghumro, unanimously decided to repeal the NAO 1999 and present the draft bill in the assembly.