Governor Sindh declines ratifying Sindh Accountability Bill aimed at repealing federal law

Pakistan’s federal Government and Sindh provincial Government are at loggerheads regarding the contents of Sindh Ehtesaab (accountability) bill (2017). The Governor of Sindh, Muhammad Zubair Umer, has again declined to sign the Sindh Ehtesaab bill (2017) which was passed in Sindh assembly.

The new resolution of Sindh ehtesaab bill (2017) will be introduced in the Sindh assembly once again in event of rejection of Governor Sindh, who declined to ratify the document.

The Governor of Sindh did not ratify the bill as it revoked the status of NAB ordinance (1999) — a federal anti-corruption law in existence.

The PPP-led Sindh Provincial Assembly passed the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, Repeal Bill, 2017, revoking mandate of the federal NAB Ordinance (1999) across the province and giving all powers to provincial anti-corruption department amid ruckus and walkout from opposition lawmakers.

The provincial government had termed the federal NAB ordinance a draconian law and said it was aimed at victimizing political opponents.

The previous Sindh Ehtesaab bill (2017) aimed to supersede the federal law was tabled by Sindh provincial Law Minister Ziaul Hassan Lanjhar, which the PPPP lawmakers considered as way for fair trial and no victimization – a position challenged by the opposition led by MQM-Pakistan.

Under the new provincial law, The federally administered NAB ordinance (1999) stood repealed across the province and all proceedings, inquiries and investigations pending under it would be transferred to Sindh Anti-Corruption Establishment.

It further said that all legal proceedings under accountability courts would stand transferred to anti-corruption courts.

According to reports, numerous investigations against Sindh government former and existing officials and several lawmakers, politicians in power and former public office holders are ongoing under the existing federal accountability law.

The provincial accountability bill proposed by PPP-led political government for the province aims to supersede all such probes and water down its effect, say observers.

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