Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that after repealing the NAB law [the Sindh jurisdiction] the provincial government is going to restructure and strengthen the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) through legislation under which the provincial assembly, treasury members and the opposition, would be empowered to appoint its chairman.
The chief minister also said that the harassment of Sindh government officers by NAB is one of the factors behind less utilisation of development funds in Sindh.
He said this while responding to the questions of the participants of a post-budget conference. He was accompanied by Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Shah and senior bureaucrats of the provincial government.
He said that the NAB was created by a dictator [Gen Musharraf] and he had given it a constitutional cover by including it into the 6th Schedule to avoid amendment into it.
“Under 18th Constitutional Amendment the 6th schedule was omitted, therefore the NAB law could be amended,” he said and added “since the anti-corruption is the provincial subject, therefore the Sindh government using its constitutional right has repealed the NAB law [Sindh Section] and is going to enact for creation of an autonomous anti-corruption body to serve as watch and ward on public spending in the province.”
Questioning the performance of NAB, the chief minister said that they [NAB] had arrested a chief engineer and a superintendent engineer of Irrigation Department for lining canals and had put them in Sukkur Jail for three months.
The judge who granted them bail had written in his judgement that the irrigation officers were arrested under malafied intentions.
Giving constitutional history, Murad Ali Shah said that the entire constitutional structure of the country is based on Indian Act of 1935. In the Constitution of 1956, the measures to combat corruption were placed in the concurrent list while in the Constitution of 1973 it has been made a provincial subject. In Article 248 it has been clearly said that no minister is responsible to any court of law in the exercise of his powers.
The chief minister said that under the NAB law, in violation of the constitution, the federal and the provincial cabinet members and the parliamentarian like civil servants have been declared as public office holders.
This was done by General Musharraf with the intention to harass the politicians and parliamentarians.
“Why people did not make a hue and cry when the federally imposed Local Bodies Ordinance and Police Order were repealed and re-enacted by the provincial governments,” he questions and said, “just it is being politicised to defame the Sindh government, otherwise we have used our constitutional power.”
Shah deplored that Sindh Governor has linked repealing of NAB law as an attempt to separate Sindh from the federation.
“I am quite surprised on his views. He has a constitutional role and he should limit himself instead of indulging in issuing irresponsible political statements,” he said. Shah questioned why he did not raise his voice or the same question when Punjab Chief Minister had warned NAB authorities for crossing their limits.