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Supreme Court seeks record of beneficiaries of NAB law in PTI govt



  • Govt counsel says amendments in line with previous ones.
  • Says SC should not confine itself only to 386 cases and references.
  • Bringing new amendments to NAB law cannot have a retrospective effect, says SC judge.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the record of beneficiaries of NAB ordinances promulgated during the tenure of Imran Khan from the National Accountability Bureau.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsen and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, heard the petition of former prime minister and Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan, challenging the amendments made by the coalition government to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.

Makhdom Ali Khan, counsel for the federal government, while advancing his arguments, submitted before the court that the present amendments made to the National Accountability Ordinance of 1999 were in continuation of the previous amendments made to the law.

He submitted that the court should not confine itself only to the 386 cases and references that were sent back by the accountability court after amendments were made to the NAO 1999 by the present government. Makhdom Ali Khan, in response to Justice Ijazul Ahsen’s query the other day, said that since five NAB ordinances were promulgated during the three-and-a-half-year government, the court could have also asked how many references were sent back and how many accused were acquitted through these ordinances and who benefited from it. “Then you should tell us what questions we should pose to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and we will note them down,” Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial told the learned counsel for the federal government.

The counsel replied that the court should ask the NAB how many references were sent back by the accountability courts through the ordinances promulgated by the PTI government.

Similarly, the counsel submitted that the court should also ask the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) how many people got acquitted through the PTI ordinances and how many applications for acquittal were returned by the trial courts.

At the outset of the hearing, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah observed that even if the anti-graft body law was abolished, other laws could tackle the crimes. The judge said that it was incorrect to say that after being acquitted in the NAB cases and becoming clean, one could go home easily.

“This impression is incorrect that by abolishing the NAB, the grip of the law will also be reduced,” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen said that it was the stance of the petitioner that the standard of establishing the crime has been changed in NAB cases through the amendments made to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.

This is also an important question after being convicted in NAB cases; how could the new amendments be applied with retrospective effect?

“Bringing new amendments to the NAB law could not have a retrospective effect,” Justice Ahsen remarked, adding that it was very strange that the new amendments to the NAB law have such great amnesty.

“I also know that there are other laws besides the NAB laws, but after all, if an accountability court acquits an accused of an offence, he will go home,” the judge remarked.

Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing for today (Thursday). 

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