KARACHI/ISLAMABAD -- Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed the resolve to fully protect the interests of the business community through an ordinance promulgated to insulate traders from the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) action.
Addressing the Awards distribution ceremony of Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi on Friday evening, the prime minister said the NAB should scrutinise only public office holders and stay away from the business community.
As the prime minister was speaking in Karachi, President Dr Arif Alvi gave his assent to the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance, 2019 which comes into force with immediate effect.
According to informed sources, the ordinance was duly approved by the federal cabinet through circulation earlier yesterday.
NAB under the new ordinance will now only be able to proceed in corruption cases of Rs500 million and above. According to the amended ordinance, NAB has been barred from taking action against government employees in case of departmental deficiencies.
It also states that the property of government employees cannot be frozen unless ordered by the court and if the NAB investigation is incomplete after three months, the arrested public servant will be entitled to bail.
Moreover, according to the amended ordinance, NAB's jurisdiction over matters relating to tax, stock exchange and IPOs has been curtailed.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and building control authorities will be the sole authorities tasked to act on all such matters.
In addition, for land evaluation purposes, NAB will seek guidance from the Federal Board of Revenue or the District Collector.
Earlier, the prime minister's office sent the copy of proposed amendments in the NAB Ordinance to all ministers and sought their input in this regard. The prime minister wanted to introduce amendments in NAB Ordinance 1999 and he had sought suggestions from them.
Highlighting the importance of traders and investors in turning Pakistan into an economically strong and welfare state as envisioned by the country's founding fathers, Imran told the businessmen at Karachi Stock Exchange that the government would extend all possible facilities to the business community in that respect.
'Our Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was also a trader,' he said.
Referring to the fear of any action or probe by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against traders, Imran said the government had...