ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has decided to withdraw amendments in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission law apparently after succumbing to the criticism of its political opponents.

An office-bearer of the PTI Central Secretariat informed The Nation that the committee constituted under the chair of Imran Khan to review the KP Ehtesab Commission Amendment Ordinance had decided to withdraw amendments made in the law.

The commission was established through an Act of the KP Assembly in 2014 as an independent and autonomous body to combat corruption in the province.

The PTI-led KP government had recently made amendments in the KP Ehtesab Commission (EC) law through an ordinance that increased the powers of Ehtesab commissioners and curtailed the powers of the director general of the commission.

The recent amendment to the ordinance – promulgated on Feb 9 – makes approval of the five-member commission mandatory for arresting a suspect and reduces the maximum period of physical custody of a suspect from 45 to 15 days.

The ordinance further provides that no legislator will be arrested by the commission without prior intimation to the Senate’s chairman or the speaker of the national or provincial assembly, as the case may be. Similarly the chief secretary will have to be informed before the arrest of a civil servant.

The Ehtesab Commission’s chief, Hamid Khan, resigned in protest after the amendments were enacted, saying the move had rendered the post of director general redundant, made the accountability process controversial and questionable and negated the autonomy of the accountability watchdog.

PTI chairman Imran Khan also said he had asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet to “withdraw amendments” made to the KP Ehtesab Commission Act after chairing a meeting to review the situation. The PTI chairman went on to say that “a comprehensive amendment bill ensuring and strengthening effective and independent accountability will now be presented before the KP Assembly.” Khan said he will ensure the process of drafting the amendments is “expedited.”

The committee at a meeting felt that comprehensive amendments are required in the existing law in order to make it simpler, workable and effective, said a statement issued by the PTI.

Consequently, the amendments made to the Ordinance will be withdrawn by the KPK Cabinet, and a detailed amendment bill will be introduced in the KP Assembly which ensures that the law would be effective, comprehensive and strengthen the process of independent accountability, the statement said adding that the committee had been directed by the chairman to expedite the process of drafting the amendment bill to be presented before the assembly.

It was further decided that in the meantime the search and scrutiny committee would initiate the process for selection of the new Director General of the KP Ehtesab Commission.