ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Thursday set a deadline till first week of February 2019 to introduce amendment in National Accountability Ordinance (NAO)’s Sections allowing the plea bargaining practice to the anti-graft body.

The apex court’s Bench headed by Justice Azmat Saeed Khosa resumed hearing on a suo motu case regarding the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s law about plea bargain practice.

During hearing, Justice Khosa remarked that the Bench would pass an order if no such amendment was brought into NAO during the assigned time frame.

The apex court was fully authorised to declare the entire NAO as null and void, he said.

Earlier, Senator Farooq H Naek informed the Bench that the Parliamentary Committee on law was working to amend the Ordinance and prayed the apex court to grant more time for this purpose rather passing an order on it. Justice Khosa observed that the crime could not be curbed on voluntarily returning of money or with any administrative orders under the plea bargaining provisions of NAB law.

It seems that now the apex court have to amend the law, he said, adding, that one could not be acquitted in crime without facing trial.

The Bench, however, extended the deadline and also stressed that “judicial measures are essential to curb crime over administrative orders and that plea bargains are confessions instead”.

It may be mentioned here that the apex court had proposed two amendments to the NAB Ordinance of 1999 in November this year.