President Dr Arif Alvi refused to sign the National Accountability (amendment) bill and returned the bill to the prime minister.
He said Article 46 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan had been violated as he was not informed about the legislative proposal before the bill was brought to the Parliament.
According to President’s Secretariat Media Wing, Article 46 of the Constitution states, “The Prime Minister shall keep the President informed… on all legislative proposals the Federal Government intends to bring before Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).”
The president returned the bill to the prime minister for reconsideration.
The president further said the amendments were passed by the National Assembly on May 26 and by the Senate on May 27 in haste and without due diligence.
He added the legislation having far-reaching impact on the society should have been discussed in detail and in consultation with the legal fraternity and civil society.
The president said the amendment would shift the burden of proof to the persecution, which has made the NAB law similar to the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898.
This, he said, would make it impossible for the prosecution to prove cases of corruption and misuse of official authority by the state persons and would bury the process of accountability in Pakistan.
He also said that such an amendment was also against the spirit of Islamic jurisprudence where Caliph Hazar Umar (RA) was questioned by an ordinary citizen to explain the extra cloth for his long cloak and against various accountability laws of developed countries such as Swiss Foreign Illicit Assets Act 2010 and Unexplained Wealth Order 2018 of UK in White-collar Crimes.
He emphasized the amendment would make the tracing money trail for the acquisition of illegal assets almost impossible especially when the records of the property/assets/wealth were neither digitized nor could be traced especially in Benami properties by the investigators.
He said that if the amendments were enacted as proposed, the ongoing mega corruption cases in the courts would be rendered infructuous, therefore, the proposed amendment which should have strengthened the accountability mechanism to eliminate corruption and political engineering to ensure good governance in the country had been rendered a toothless entity.