A day after President Arif Alvi refused to give his assent for the second time to a piece of legislation seeking to clip the vast powers of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi rejected the notion on Tuesday that the NAB reforms bill was designed with the aim to close ongoing graft cases against the PML-N leadership.
"Cases against us will continue," he said while speaking to the media outside an accountability court on Tuesday after a journalist asked him about allegations that the intention behind the legislation was to end graft cases against the country's incumbent rulers.
However, he followed this up with the allegation that the cases were filed by the NAB at former prime minister Imran Khan's behest for "political engineering" and to "exert pressure" on his opponents.
"No case has any substance, there is nothing in it," he commented. "And I reiterate that our cases may continue, cases against the PML-N may continue. This may even be written in the legislation. But shut this institution [NAB]."
Abbasi's statements come a day after the National Accountability (Amendment Bill) 2022 — which has been a matter of contention between the government and opposition for weeks now — took effect following President Alvi's refusal for the second time to give it his approval.
Meanwhile, the PTI alleged that the government's intention behind the legislation was to get a second NRO, implying that it was aimed at closing graft cases against the political leadership part of the incumbent coalition setup.
The bill was passed by the National Assembly and Senate last month and subsequently sent to the president for his approval. However, President Alvi had sent it back on June 4, following which the government had convened a joint sitting of parliament on June 9 to pass the bill — which was cleared the same day.
Procedurally, after bills are passed by the joint sitting, they are presented to the president for his assent. If the president does not give his approval within 10 days, it will be deemed to have been given.