Tuesday July 19, 2022

CJ Asks PTI Leadership Where It Were When Govt Amending NAB Laws

ISLAMABAD: A bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) “walk over” to the incumbent government in the parliament.

Hearing a petition filed by the former ruling party regarding amendments to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial inquired into PTI’s restraint from parliamentary debate on recent amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.

The CJP implored the PTI Vice President Shah Mahmood Qureshi, as Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah heard former prime minister and party Chairman Imran Khan’s petition against the amendments to the NAO.

Advocate Khawaja Haris appeared on behalf of the ousted premier.

The bench issued notices to the respondents named in the petition as questions were raised by counsel and are to be taken into consideration.

During the hearing, the chief justice asked the former foreign minister why PTI did not object to the legislation, related to amendments, in the parliament.

CJ Bandial urged the former ruling party to consider participating in the assembly, “for the sake of people and the country.” He also lamented the current economic situation.

The CJP stated that the functioning of the parliament was necessary for the progress of the country,

“Parliament is the sovereign body; we have always held that parliament should be fully functional,” he added.

The court remarked that several issues brought to judicial bodies were the domain of the parliament. “These issues should be debated in the parliament so that the court may spend time to decide litigant cases.”

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah questioned the PTI counsel on the matter of parliamentary debate, stating that serious questions would arise on the locus standi of the petitioner, as to why they did not participate in the debate.

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan disapproved of the former ruling party’s “complete walk over to the government” stating that the party could have raised objections on the legislation.

In response, Qureshi refused to discuss the party’s reason for walking out of the parliament. However, the former minister stated that two attempts were made to amend the NAB laws but consensus could not be evolved.

He said that the PML-N-led coalition government had previously suggested 34 amendments, which were not acceptable as they could have made accountability law “completely redundant”.

Earlier, counselor Khawaja Haris said that the parliamentary system and Islamic provisions are features of the constitution and these amendments affected these features.

The counselor also objected to amendments regarding the definition of assets beyond means as well as misuse of authority. Haris further raised questions on the recent amendment which define the offense of Benami.

Khawaja Haris contended that under the new amendments, material obtained through Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) could not be placed as evidence before an accountability court. He said that the amendment was created to benefit those accused involved in fake account cases.

Subsequently, the bench did not pass a restraining order which would halt the operation of the new law and adjourned the hearing until July 29.

← Back>