PTI’s penchant for Ordinances

Inputs from all stakeholders make legislation more comprehensive

For three years the PTI government allowed the NAB to cripple the bureaucracy and demoralize the business community for no other reason than to satisfy its craze for vengeance against political opponents through an overly empowered and zealous NAB. With talk about the elections in the air, a number of PTI ministers and advisers started having cold feet over what could happen if they were to land in opposition and NAB was used by those in power to bring them to book. The exercise to cut off one’s nose to spit on one’s face had gone on too long, they told the leadership, and must come to an end at bonce. What needed to be done was to make the required changes in the NAB Ordinance through a law passed by Parliament.

The new NAB Ordinance excludes the federal and provincial cabinets and collective decisions of the committees or sub-committees and other administrative bodies from the ambit of NAB. It is easier for a government succeeding the PTI administration to change or altogether annul the provisions of this Ordinance by peomulgating a new ordinance as the PTI has done. It is not however that easy to change a law made through consensus. The PTI could have got much of what it wanted through normal legislation by bringing a drafingt of proposals before Parliament, getting it through the concerned parliamentary committee and legislating it after a debate in Parliament. This would have required some give and take, which is a common practice in parliamentary democracy. Presumably the government would have been asked not to extend the tenure of the present NAB chief and not to allow any accountability chief a second term. Bargaining with the opposition is however in contradiction with the PTI’s penchant for “my way, or the highway.” Similarly, a parliamentary debate on the issue might have led to the exposures of some of the government’s shenanigans which is the last thing the party leadership wants. It is keen to judge others but resents anyone putting it in the dock. It has therefore gone the ordinance way which should only be taken in emergencies.

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The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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