Guards, protocol withdrawn from President, PM during electioneering on CEC directives

ISLAMABAD, July 14 (APP): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Barrister Zafarullah Khan on Thursday said the government wants a comprehensive accountability law in the country for rooting out corruption and white collar crime.

“The present accountability law is defective and needs massive changes that had also been acknowledged by the opposition parties. We want a comprehensive law once and for all to eliminate corruption,” he said in a private news channel program.

He said a committee has also been constituted headed by Syed Naveed Qamar to bring in the best accountability law.

Focusing on deliberations of the Parliamentary Committee on Panama papers, he said, the government desires to sort out this issue politically. But, certain modalities had to be decided.

In this regard, he stated that the government side had desired to decide on the instruments of law and purview of the Commission. So, both sides exchanged their documents at first stage. During second exchange of documents, the government side showed flexibility on 50 percent points but the opposition added 20 percent more points in their document.

“We agreed that if the 1956 law was weak, let us bring a new law. We offered to include all clauses of 1956 law and furthering it by making the powers mandatory and include additional powers of Dharna Commission and include more clauses so to make the law comprehensive,” he explained.

He said the opposition demanded to restrict only to Panama issue while the government side proposed accountability of all kinds of corruption. “Their focus was to include name of the Prime Minister which could not be done because his name was not mentioned in Panama papers.”

Secondly, he stated that the opposition was stressing that
burden of proof should be shifted to the respondent which was also against the norms as, always the burden of proof lies with the one who levels allegations.

“Our stance was that as the opposition was alleging, it should bear the burden of proof,” he said.

Zafarullah said during the deliberations, the parameters of new law were also discussed and the government side clearly said that guidance could be sought from any prevalent laws world over.

“We agreed that if they desire to first take up Panama issue but no fundamental right should be violated and everybody will have to be held accountable,” Zafarullah said. “We asked them to decide as to which laws they wanted to follow because the laws in some countries were at the very advanced stage.”

But, he said, some people on the other side were not agreeing to overall accountability and including in it the investigation of illegally deposited money in foreign banks.

He said the government is still open to resolve issue politically and enact a proper law for accountability and eliminating corruption.