ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday continued hearing of Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s petition against amendments in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance.
A three-member SC bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah heard the case.
During the course of proceedings, Justice Ijaz asked whether anyone was left who had not been exempted from the NAB law. Even the chairman and vice chairman of a Tehsil Council were exempted to take any decision after the NAB amendments.
Justice Mansoor observed that no decision could be stated as wrong until any financial benefit from it was proved. Apparently the government officers and public office-holders had been given the freedom to make decisions through the NAB amendments, he added.
Advocate Khawaja Haris, counsel for Imran Khan, said more than Rs 8 billion was recovered from such decision makers in the past. Upon this, Justice Mansoor asked whether the recovery was made from the public office-holders.
Khawaja Haris responded that the recovery was made from those who were minting money for the public office-holders.
Justice Mansoor said every government decision benefitted some section or the other. The counsel responded that there was no wrongdoing unless the benefit taken was unlawful. It was wrong not to take action against a particular officer for giving an illegal benefit to someone, he added.
He said NAB could not lay hands on any regulatory authority and government company.
Justice Mansoor asked why the Pakistan Army had been exempted from NAB law, and why Imran Khan did not raise that point in his petition.
The chief justice remarked that fundamental human rights should also be balanced. If there were rights of common citizens, then there also the fundamental rights of national interests and the society, and there should be a balance between the two, he added.
He said he was linking individual benefits to those of the society.
He said the court needed assistance if the cases were filed in other forums.
The chief justice questioned how the NAB law was against the public interests.
The counsel responded that NAB’s limit of action on corruption of Rs 500 million could be reduced to Rs 100 million.
His client’s objection was application of the amended NAB law from the past.
Subsequently, the case was adjourned till Monday.