LAHORE The National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance 2010, suppressing the much awaited appointment of the Chairman National Accountability Court, exposes government hidden intentions to appoint the judges of choice to the new Accountability Courts and to decide the high profile cases on its prosecution. It has come about without first determining the question whether Law Minister can be given the power vested in the office of the Chairman NAB, protected by a separate law. The jurists smell rat behind the surreptitious way the Ordinance has been brought in when clock is ticking for the 10 days period which the government had sought from the Supreme Court to appoint the Chairman NAB and on another forum, mechanism for holding accountability of corrupt politicians and others as envisaged by Charter of Democracy as a Commission, was under discussion with the Opposition. The new Chairman of the NAB has to come about in consultation with the Opposition as well as to the satisfaction of the Supreme Court which has specifically mentioned about the same in its December 16, last decision on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) which was invalided in ab initio calling for reopening of all NAB cases which previously were consigned to file under the NRO benefit. The SC has also sought setting up further Accountability Courts, also to be presided over by impartial, apolitical and fair-minded persons. The net effect of the SC decision about the trial on the reopened NRO cases, was to purely judge them on merit without any political influence or extraneous considerations. And for that purpose impartial, fair and unbiased prosecution on the one hand and the Accountability Courts in the same nature on the other, was a must as the SC seeks retrieval of the looted wealth to the country. This purpose can be served properly if NAB acts as quite neutral and independent and non-partisan institution which objective, the Ordinance appears to have frustrated. By giving authority to the Law Minister to transfer cases and appoint Accountability Court judges, without involvement of the Judiciary, which, even is contrary to the spirit of NAB law, apparently is a move to colour the decisions with political considerations. As such the matter has been hotly debated before the Senate. The jurists on their side say, the Ordinance is open to judicial scrutiny to also judge whether NAB with the head of an impartial and apolitical person can serve well the purpose of prosecution or a political person enjoying authority of the Chairman NAB. Jurists find a subtle point between the NAB and other corporations which even a Minister can head, and say, justice system is looked as an organic whole and is different by its nature from other as such it has been specifically mentioned as independent in the Constitution and various Superior Court decisions have stressed the same. Senior jurists SM Zafar categorically says that the Law Minister cannot get the chairman powers when the NAB is an autonomous body. Hence this transfer of power is in itself inappropriate, he adds. Though President is competent to issue ordinance, but the procedure adopted for this purpose is inappropriate. He said it can be undesirable that ordinance was issued when the date for summoning Assembly Session was fixed but that is not illegal as on the day of its promulgation, technically speaking assembly, was not in session. Law Minster Babar Awan giving rationale of the Ordinance says that it aimed at transferring NAB cases from the one court to another as the Chairman NAB is not in the office but that is not a sufficient justification given the clandestine manner the Ordinance has been brought in. Mr Zafar on that says the very manner of bringing the Ordinance is so surreptitiously that it casts doubts and suspicions so it would not be wrong to say that the Ordinance has been introduced in wrong, clumsy and unparliamentarily way which clearly shows the some other objective is working behind this move, which on the face of it, is not comprehensible.