Amended NAB, election bills made acts

ISLAMABAD – The ‘Elections (Amendment) Act, 2022’ and ‘National Accountability (Amendment) Act, 2022’ recently passed in the joint session of the parliament has become an ‘act of the parliament’.

Both the amended bills were twice returned by President Arif Alvi, seeking amendments to the accountability and election laws, for “consideration and detailed deliberations” by the parliament and its committees. The bills were referred to the president for his assent but the president refused to accord them approval.

The bills passed by the joint session of the parliament, under clause 2 of Article 75 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, have been notified as act of the parliament.

The election amendment bill has abolished the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in polls, while the NAB bill has formulated a post-retirement procedure for its chairman, among other changes.

The amendments in the ‘Election (Amendment) Bill 2022’ removed the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the general elections. According to the amendment [in Section 94 of the Election Act, 2017] in the bill, “the ECP may conduct pilot projects for voting by Overseas Pakistanis in by-elections to ascertain the technical efficacy, secrecy, security, and financial feasibility of such voting and shall share the results with the government, which shall, within 15 days from the commencement of a session of a house after the receipt of the report, lay the same before both houses of parliament.”

Another amendment in Section 103 of the Election Act, 2017, says “the ECP may conduct pilot projects for the utilisation of Electronic Voting Machines [EVMs] and biometric verification system in the by-elections.”

According to the amendments in  NAB Ordinance, “NAB’s deputy chairman to become acting chairman following top official’s retirement,” It says, “Process to appoint new chairman to begin two months prior to incumbent’s retirement and completed in 40 days…NAB bound to ensure availability of evidence prior to arrest. Up to five-year imprisonment for filing false reference.”

The process to appoint a new chairman would begin two months prior to the retirement of the incumbent chairman and would be completed in 40 days, according to the bill. If the prime minister and leader of the opposition are unable to agree on an appointee, the matter would be referred to the parliamentary committee.

According to the bill, the parliamentary committee would then finalise the name for a new chairman within 30 days.

 

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