Apex court wants to conclude NAB amendments case early: CJP

ISLAMABAD, Aug 30 (Alliance News): Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday observed that the top court wanted to conclude cases pertaining to the NAB amendments as soon as possible.

He was heading the three-member bench, comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, which heard the case.

At the outset of hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan said that he had not stated that ‘there was a flaw in the Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Act’, rather he was of the view that it was similar to the Supreme Court Review Act.

The chief justice remarked that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had withdrawn corruption cases of less than Rs 500 million. “Under which law this policy has been adopted?” he asked.

He observed that in the NAB amendments carried out in 2022, the arrest of accused at inquiry stage was excluded but in July 2023 the respective clause had been included in the law again, which was aimed at tightening the grip against politicians.

CJP Bandial said that it had to be viewed that who had been targeted and for how long. Negotiations were underway some people in matters pertaining to the billions of rupees fraud.

He said there was something wrong in the NAB law, due to which the apex court was approached to review it. Whether the Bureau was working to protect the public interest, he questioned.

The chief justice said the court had to view the amendments in light of the provisions of Constitution.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah remarked that the NAB amendments were challenged by a person who had quit the Parliament. Fundamental rights had been clearly defined in the Imrana Tiwana case, adding that the top court had conducted some 50 hearings but no answer had been received regarding the impacts of NAB amendments on basic rights.

He said the amendments were not challenged by any citizen. He asked that whether the limit of Rs 500 million in NAB cases was fixed to book only big fish or whether the people committing corruption of less amount were honoured.

The chief justice asked lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan to give arguments on Thursday regarding application of the NAB amendments from the past.

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