SC punches holes in Imran Khan’s challenge to NAB amendments

Justice Mansoor wonders why the establishment transcends the accountability whereas the latter is undertaking the biggest commercial ventures in the country and is in possession of great wealth: PTI lawyer says NAB can’t lay its hands on any regulatory authority and official company: Says it’s wrong to not take action against an officer who has received illegal favours

By: News Desk
Published: 04:41 PM, 19 Oct, 2022
SC punches holes in Imran Khan’s challenge to NAB amendments
Caption: File photo.
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Supreme Court’s Justice Mansoor Ali Shah has observed why PTI Chief Imran Khan has not raised an objection to the exemption of establishment from the accountability process by the accountability watchdog in his current challenge to the amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

He expressed these remarks during the hearing of petition filed by the PTI chairman against the amendments to the NAO on Wednesday. The judge wondered why the establishment transcended the accountability whereas the latter was undertaking the biggest commercial ventures in the country and was in possession of great wealth. 

“Why Imran did not raise the point to hold the establishment accountable in his petition,” Justice Shah added.

PTI lawyer Khwaja Haris contended that NAB could not lay its hands on any regulatory authority and official company. He said that it was wrong to not take an action against an officer who received illegal favours.

Justice Shah remarked that if a culprit managed to evade the NAB law after new amendments then he would be caught in another law (for his felony). 

Addressing the PTI counsel, the judge said that it seemed evident from his arguments that only the NAB was responsible for conducting accountability in the country. But there are other institutions in the country which are also responsible for conducting accountability, he added. 

However, Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that no other law penalized the misuse of authority.  

The PTI lawyer told the court that in the NAB amendments, private people’s crimes were eliminated and the NAB would take action in the asset beyond means cases only when corruption had been proved in such cases. 

Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial inquired of the lawyer whether he meant that the new amendments had decriminalized several crimes. 

The top judge inquired if the PTI had no objections to how long would be the remand of the accused and how the accused would get bail. He asked him if he had no objection to these amendments.

The PTI lawyer told the court that these were good amendments and his client had no objections to them. 

The CJP remarked that several crimes including asset beyond means were stricken down through recent NAO amendments. He inquired if other laws were available to punish these crimes. 

Justice Shah asked Haris which crimes were done away with after new amendments. 

The lawyer said that crimes related to asset beyond means and misuse of authority were removed from the NAB jurisdiction after amendments. 

Justice Shah observed that the asset beyond means crime could still be punished under the NAB law. He wondered if the court would review the whole design of the law itself! 

CJP Bandial remarked that in our country people even don’t file their tax returns truthfully. He said that it was not enough that one’s assets were beyond one’s source of income adding that there should be an element of corruption or dishonesty in it.

Justice Shah said what if someone came to the court tomorrow and pleaded that the corrupt person be hanged. On whose shoulders the court would put the onus to prove the guilt, he questioned. 

Justice Shah reiterated that this debate should be held in parliament. 

The chief justice of Pakistan remarked there should be a balance in the basic human rights. If a citizen has got rights then there is also national interests and basic societal rights, he observed remarking ‘there should be a balance between the rights of the both.

Justice Bandial observed that the current argument was trying to link the benefit given to an individual with the rights of a society. 

The top judge sought further assistance on the point that what would happen if cases were sent to other forums. 

The CJP asked the PTI lawyer how much time he would require to complete his arguments. 

Haris said he would complete his arguments in four hearings. 

The CJP reminded him that the most important point to be proved was that how the NAO was against the public interest.

The PTI lawyer said that the scope of NAB corruption investigation could be lowered to Rs100 million instead of Rs500 million. He said that the PTI objected to the applicability of the NAB laws to the past.

After this, the court adjourned the hearing of the case till Monday.

FIA seeks time from Lahore court in PTI foreign funding case 

Informing a banking court in Lahore that the foreign funding case record of the PTI leader Hamid Zaman was presently with the Islamabad High Court (IHC), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Wednesday sought time from the court for preparing arguments in the case until the record was returned to it, reported 24NewsHD TV channel. 

Judge Aslam Gondal of the court heard the post-arrest bail application of Zaman.  

Later, the court adjourned hearing of the case until day after tomorrow (Friday, October 21, 2022).

Reporter: Amanat Gishkori and Shaheen Atiq 

Categories : Pakistan