Supreme Court reprimands NAB for keeping Ahad Cheema in prison for three years
Apex court stresses need to stop misuse of NAB laws: Adds Bureau was used as tool against certain individuals
By News Desk
August 25, 2023 03:26 PM
While disposing of a petition of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Ahad Cheema on the basis of withdrawal, the Supreme Court (SC) Friday reprimanded the NAB for keeping Ahad Cheema in prison for three years and stressed the need for a halt to the misuse of the NAB laws, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
A three-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Atta Bandial, heard the NAB plea.
“After keeping Ahad Cheema in prison for three years, [now] the NAB has found out that no reference was needed against him,” the SC expressed indignation.
“The use of the NAB law for nefarious purposes should be stopped. The NAB was used mercilessly against individuals in violation of fundamental rights. It was used as a tool against certain individuals,” it added.
“The NAB kept Ahad Cheema in jail for three years. It sought adjournment in the Ahad Cheema case 24 times in the High Court. The NAB’s conduct was explained in detail by the High Court in its verdict, but the NAB challenged the same verdict in the Supreme Court,” Justice Athar Minallah expressed indignation.
“Even after keeping a person in prison for years, the NAB says that nothing was found in investigations. The NAB should tell why it increased the burden of cases by filing this petition. Ahad Cheema was innocent because no crime was proved against him,” he remarked.
“In several cases, the NAB says that it is withdrawing the case after keeping the accused in jail,” Justice Jamal Mandokhail expressed displeasure.
“The accused should file a case against the NAB after serving in prison for so many years. Why does the NAB have unlimited power to file cases against anyone?” he questioned.
“Ahad Cheema’s case has gone out of the NAB’s jurisdiction after the NAB amendments. The NAB again investigated Ahad Cheema’s case and found out that no reference was needed against him,” the NAB prosecutor told the court.
“It is good that the accused have been given the right to bail after the NAB amendments. Ahad Cheema was kept in jail by the NAB since 2018 only for the purpose of investigation. The NAB has become an instrument of abuse due to the misuse of powers,” the CJP remarked.
“The then chairman of the NAB is responsible for all this,” Justice Athar Minallah said.
“Now Ahad Cheema has become a federal minister,” the NAB special prosecutor told the court.
“Has he become dear to the NAB after becoming a minister?” Justice Mandokhail questioned.
“What is NAB doing with bureaucracy? Brig (r) Asad Munir committed suicide due to the NAB reference. The NAB wrote in its report about Brig (r) Asad Munir that he was a trustworthy person. Who will compensate the NAB’s misconduct?” Justice Athar Minallah questioned.
“We know that the NAB takes action against certain people only,” Justice Mandokhail remarked.
“It is sad that the process of accountability has been tainted. Those with powers should know that this is the trust of the nation,” the CJP said.
“Give me some time, I will submit a report on this,” the NAB special prosecutor said to the court.
“This case has to be made an example for the NAB. Former president Pervez Musharraf created the NAB for political engineering. The NAB is now proving why this law of Pervez Musharraf was made,” Justice Athar Minallah said.
“The NAB once summoned a chartered accountant friend of mine to record his statement and asked him to come tomorrow after making him wait for five hours,” the CJP said.
“Making someone wait for no reason is an abuse of power by the NAB,” he added.
“Even in the case of murder, the accused has the right to bail after two years. Blue rooms and dark rooms have been built in the NAB which are for various political cases. It is unfortunate for the NAB that I am aware of their system,” Justice Mandokhail said.
“The court is wondering who should be fined in this case. We do not want the state to pay us the fine. The state had trusted the NAB. The lawyers should protest against the NAB for taking up such cases,” the CJP remarked.
“The government will run if the institutions are stable. It is our responsibility to bring stability to the institutions. The NAB should improve its performance legally,” he added.
Reporter: Amanat Gishkori