IHC censures NAB for arbitrary use of arrest powers
The Islamabad High Court on Saturday censured the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) over the arbitrary use of the arrest powers while mentioning its harmful nature and negative effects on different sectors.
It said that the NAB’s practice was also jeopardising the rights granted to the citizens by the Constitution. “Arbitrary or indiscriminate exercise of executive powers vested in such entities, instead of achieving the public interest for which it has been established, could greatly harm other public interests,” the court said.
In a 54-page verdict authored by a two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Athar Minallah, the court noted that the abusing the powers was harmful to the economy, investment [especially foreign] and foreign policy.
The judgment read that the NAB was misusing the powers, which should be used appropriately.
The court said the Parliament should bring legislation on the subject. The innocent shouldn’t be behind the bars, it added.
However, the court stressed the need for rooting out corruption and observed that the corrupt should be behind the bars. It called for “across the board accountability in a transparent manner and free from discrimination and arbitrary exercise of powers”.
The court, in its detailed verdict which was issued on the 4G licensing case, noted incompetence, lack of professional expertise and proper training to deal with white-collar crime could have damaging consequences for the governance system and cause harm to the economy.
Last month, Chief Justice Athar Minallah, while hearing PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal’s bail plea in the Narowal Sports City case, had stated that a detailed order would be issued on the NAB’s authority to arrest suspects in the cases where the investigation was still incomplete.
“The accused is considered innocent until proven guilty. Why should we not declare unjustified arrests by the NAB illegal?" the chief justice had asked.