ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar has made it clear that the PTI-led government cannot compromise its core pledge of ensuring accountability of corrupt people and it would lay the promulgated NAB Ordinance in the upcoming sitting of National Assembly.

Shahzad Akbar said the Opposition was criticising the recently promulgated National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 without reading it.

Brushing aside the Opposition’s impression that the promulgation of the Ordinance has stopped the accountability process, Shahzad Akbar, flanked by Minister for Communication and Postal Services Murad Saeed, told the media that elimination of corruption would remain the jurisdiction of NAB, which had already been mandated to stop corruption and not reform the institutions.

“Committing mere procedural lapses were not enough for framing NAB cases but the accused must have gotten personal gains in it. Defence mechanism must be available to a person on NAB radar who decided anything in the good faith. A person must not be nabbed due to his decision only; there must be evidence of some benefits or kickbacks through unfair means for framing the cases against him.”

He said the government would lay the promulgated ordinance in the upcoming sitting of National Assembly. The government was ready to accommodate positive suggestions of the Opposition, he added.

However the accountability of corrupt elements would be continued, he said.

The economy was in shambles and now it was out of it and moving towards growth, he said, adding that the incumbent government was working hard to make Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) effective institution.

He said that no one in the government would be able to get personal benefits from the new NAB Ordinance.

Shahzad said matters pertaining to federal or provincial taxation, levies or imposts will not fall under the ambit of NAB and such cases will be handled by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Similarly, the watchdog will not scrutinise any person or entity, or transaction in relation thereto, who or which are not directly or indirectly connected with a holder of public office.

NAB laws were framed in the past to save their skin, he said, adding now the country has come into take-off stage and institutions were being strengthened. Right now, the restoration of credibility of institutions, vitiated by the past governments, was most important, after economic revival and NAB was most important among them.

On the occasion, Murad Saeed said the government has stabilised the country’s economy and 2020 will be the year of progress and prosperity. He said that Rs24,000 billion loans were taken by past regimes during their last ten years.

Murad Saeed said the process of accountability will continue and the plundered national wealth would be recovered from the corrupt elements. Murad Saeed said his ministry has recovered about Rs11.9 billion from its own departments.

He said that PTI soon after coming into power had laid focus on good governance, revival of national economy and elimination of corruption. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team has rescued the economy which was sinking. He said a Loan Probe Commission constituted by Prime Minister would soon release its report.

He said the government was initiating Ehsaas Kafalat programme in which Rs192 billion would be spent on the welfare of poor people in the country. He said under the scheme orphans, widows and poor people would be provided special assistance.

Murad Saeed said the government is working on reforms agenda, adding improvement was coming in all the institutions including Pakistan International Airlines, NHA, Pakistan Post and Pakistan Steel Mill.

He also criticised Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari, saying there will be no National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) for Bilawal.