Imran could have objected to NAB amends in NA: SC

F.P. Report

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 Mansoor observed that the PTI chief should have approached the parliament over his reservations against the amendments in NAB Ordinance. He asked why did Imran Khan resign from the National Assembly without the consent of the people of his constituency, who had trusted him by electing as an assembly member.

Imran Khan’s counsel Khawaja Haris said the new amendments had rendered the accountability law ineffective. In the past, the apex court had declared the corruption cancer for the country, he added. He said the law for the public office holders had been the same since 1949. Holding a public office was a sacred responsibility and corruption could not be tolerated, he added.

Justice Mansoor said the court could not do anything if the parliament had abolished a law. He asked the counsel whether the court had ever restored a repealed law before. Kjawaja Haris said that in 1990, the court had restored a repealed law. Chief Justice Bandial remarked that the parliament was only submissive to the Constitution and the Shariah.

Justice Ijaz accountability was a fundamental principle of Islam. Khawaja Haris said important changes had been made in the accountability laws regarding plea bargains. Those who did not pay installments of the plea bargain had been facilitated under the new amended law, he added. He said earlier, action was taken against those who failed to pay the plea bargains. After the amendment, the plea bargain of the non-payer would expire, he added.

He said if the corruption case was about an amount of less than Rs 50 million, then the charges against the accused would be automatically removed under the amended law, and they could also claim the amount of plea bargain deposited, partially or fully. The chief justice remarked the state would have to pay billions of rupees on that count.

Justice Mansoor asked whether taking money from an accused under pressure was correct. Khawaja Haris responded that the plea bargain was only approved by the accountability court. An if an accused was pressured for the plea bargain, then he could let the court know in that regard, he added. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till Thursday.

PTI MNAs approach IHC over acceptance of resignations: In the latest political move, PTI approached on Wednesday the Islamabad High Court (IHC) through a petition filed for the approval of the resignations tendered by the party law makers following Imran Khan’s ouster as prime minister.

All the PTI MNAs resigned en masse on April 11, two days after PTI Chairman Imran Khan was ousted as the prime minister through a no-confidence motion moved by the then-opposition. Former deputy speaker Qasim Suri — who was performing his duties as acting NA speaker after Asad Qaiser resignation — had accepted all the resignations on April 15. However, once Raja Pervez Ashraf was elected as the speaker, he decided to verify the resignations by interviewing lawmakers individually. (APP)