ISLAMABAD: More than four years down the line after the tabling of a bill in 2009 to establish an autonomous National Accountability Commission (NAC) by Pakistan People’s Party, an effective accountability law still remains an unfulfilled agenda in parliament. The ‘Holders of Public Offices (Accountability) Bill 2009’ was presented to replace a politically strained National Accountability Bureau with an autonomous NAC, but it has been pending in parliament. And now that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has been in power for more than three months, there is no move to replace NAB with NAC. Majority of PML-N lawmakers view this unfulfilled promise as one of the greatest failings of the previous parliament. The NAC had been a hot topic in the past five years when PML-N was in opposition and rapped the then ruling PPP for reneging on its commitment to democracy. Former parliamentary affairs minister Babar Awan tabled the bill in the National Assembly. The PML-N objjected to the language and provisions in the draft bill and refused to accept it. The then premier Yousuf Raza Gilani had said the government would submit the bill to parliament after consulting all parties. PML-N’s demand was that NAC should be headed by a sitting Supreme Court judge.
Mystery of portrait solved
ISLAMABAD: As mysteriously as it vanished, the painting that went missing from the National Assembly secretariat in Islamabad has been returned, although not in its original, pristine condition. Sources said the portrait of C E Gibbon, the third deputy speaker of the Constituent Assembly — a forerunner of the National Assembly — was discovered where it belonged “a couple of days ago”. They said the painting had lost its grandeur and was brought back in a creased condition. “The missing painting has been found, but in a dilapidated shape,” a source in the secretariat said. “The thief detached the artwork from its frame and folded it up before bringing it back to the secretariat, so presumably security cameras did not notice it.”
UK soldier shot dead in Helmand
LONDON: A British soldier was shot dead in Afghanistan yesterday, the Ministry of Defence in London said, the first British loss of life in the conflict since April. The ministry said the soldier, the 445th British serviceman to be killed in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001, had been killed by enemy fire while on patrol in Helmand Province. “Despite receiving immediate medical attention, he died at the scene,” the ministry said, adding his family has been informed. Lieutenant Colonel Hywel Lewis, spokesman for Britain’s Task Force Helmand, described the unnamed soldier as “the brightest and the best”. Britain has around 8,000 personnel in Afghanistan, but 5,200 will be left by the end of the year ahead of a full withdrawal by the end of 2014.
Illegal arms surrendered
KARACHI: In a city plagued by violence, only 16 illegal weapons were surrendered during a two-week drive against illegal weapons which ended on Sunday. The drive was launched by the Sindh government following the Supreme Court’s directive to clean Karachi of weapons.