The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Saturday received an application against the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019.

The NAB amendment ordinance was promulgated by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government through a presidential ordinance on Friday that made momentous alterations to the accountability law known as the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

The application pleaded with the apex court to immediately order suspending the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, while claiming that the amendment was against Article 25 of the Constitution, and an attempt to protect the corruption of ministers and government officials.

According to the amendment, the NAB can now only take up cases involving corruption or corrupt practices exceeding an amount of Rs500 million, and no action will be launched against government employees in case of departmental deficiencies.

“Notwithstanding anything contained in this ordinance or any other law for the time being in force, no inquiry, investigation, arrest or proceedings against a government servant, under this ordinance, either as an accused or witness, shall be initiated or conducted by NAB without prior approval of the scrutiny committee,” said a new clause inserted in Section 33-F of the ordinance.

Another amendment barred the accountability watchdog from confiscating property of any public office holder without prior approval of the scrutiny committee.

Furthermore, another amendment required the NAB chairman to devise a “complaint redressal mechanism for attending complaints against NAB” and present a quarterly report on its performance to the federal government.

The anti-graft agency’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 (SECP) and building control authorities will be the sole authorities tasked to act on all such matters.