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Supreme Court seeks record of beneficiaries of NAB law in PTI govt

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  • Govt counsel says amendments in line with previous ones.
  • Says SC should not confine itself only to 386 cases and references.
  • Bringing new amendments to NAB law cannot have a retrospective effect, says SC judge.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the record of beneficiaries of NAB ordinances promulgated during the tenure of Imran Khan from the National Accountability Bureau.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsen and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, heard the petition of former prime minister and Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan, challenging the amendments made by the coalition government to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.

Makhdom Ali Khan, counsel for the federal government, while advancing his arguments, submitted before the court that the present amendments made to the National Accountability Ordinance of 1999 were in continuation of the previous amendments made to the law.

He submitted that the court should not confine itself only to the 386 cases and references that were sent back by the accountability court after amendments were made to the NAO 1999 by the present government. Makhdom Ali Khan, in response to Justice Ijazul Ahsen’s query the other day, said that since five NAB ordinances were promulgated during the three-and-a-half-year government, the court could have also asked how many references were sent back and how many accused were acquitted through these ordinances and who benefited from it. “Then you should tell us what questions we should pose to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and we will note them down,” Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial told the learned counsel for the federal government.

The counsel replied that the court should ask the NAB how many references were sent back by the accountability courts through the ordinances promulgated by the PTI government.

Similarly, the counsel submitted that the court should also ask the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) how many people got acquitted through the PTI ordinances and how many applications for acquittal were returned by the trial courts.

At the outset of the hearing, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah observed that even if the anti-graft body law was abolished, other laws could tackle the crimes. The judge said that it was incorrect to say that after being acquitted in the NAB cases and becoming clean, one could go home easily.

“This impression is incorrect that by abolishing the NAB, the grip of the law will also be reduced,” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen said that it was the stance of the petitioner that the standard of establishing the crime has been changed in NAB cases through the amendments made to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.

This is also an important question after being convicted in NAB cases; how could the new amendments be applied with retrospective effect?

“Bringing new amendments to the NAB law could not have a retrospective effect,” Justice Ahsen remarked, adding that it was very strange that the new amendments to the NAB law have such great amnesty.

“I also know that there are other laws besides the NAB laws, but after all, if an accountability court acquits an accused of an offence, he will go home,” the judge remarked.

Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing for today (Thursday). 

Elections

Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri’s JUI-F resignation from the Senate

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Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the JUI-F leader’s resignation, which he accepted.

In the National Assembly, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri will be sworn in as a member.

Following their victories in the general elections on February 8 for the Balochistan Assembly, Senators Sarfraz Bugti and Prince Umar Ahmedzai had already announced their resignations from the Senate.

Prior carer Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the resignation of Federal Interior Minister Bugti, which he accepted.

In a similar vein, Senator Prince Umar Ahmedzai of the Balochistan Awami Party resigned from the Senate following his election to the provincial legislature.

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Elections

NA session: The interim government addresses President Alvi’s concerns

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Details indicate that in response, the federal government informed Dr. Arif Alvi that Article 91 of the 1973 Constitution does not grant the president the “discretion or power” to adjourn the National Assembly session.

The sources quoted the federal administration and said, “Nowhere in Article 91 is it written that if the House is incomplete, the National Assembly session cannot be convened.”

It further said that Article 54 of the constitution allowed the president to adjourn the National Assembly’s “ordinary” session alone. According to the summary, the president was requested to call an extraordinary session of the National Assembly so that the newly elected members may take an oath of office.

Dr. Arif Alvi was asked to reconsider his choice and call a meeting of the National Assembly by the acting federal government on February 29.

The sources quoted the federal government and stated, “It is not written anywhere in the constitution that if specific seats are not allotted, the session cannot be called.”

It further said that the National Assembly must be called within 21 days following the election in accordance with Clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution.

The caretaker administration responded, saying, “Even if the President does not call the National Assembly session by February 29, it would still be held on the same day.”

Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf called a session of the National Assembly on Thursday, February 29th, in order to administer the oath to the newly elected Members of Congress earlier on Monday.

According to specifics, President Arif Alvi declined to call a meeting under clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution, arguing that the lower body is still unfinished because a decision on certain reserved seats has not yet been made. Consequently, the Speaker National Assembly called the meeting.

The National Assembly’s maiden session was called by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The freshly elected members of the National Assembly would take the oath of office from the Speaker. During the first session, the election schedules for speaker and deputy speaker will also be released.

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Pakistan

Maryam Nawaz honours ASP Shehr Bano For His Extraordinary Courage

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Maryam Nawaz, the PML-N’s nominee for chief minister of Punjab, honours young police officer Shehr Bano for displaying extraordinary bravery, insight, and courage.

According to Maryam Nawaz, if the female police officer hadn’t arrived in time, a catastrophe may have happened.

The country is proud of you, she said as she praised Shehr Bano.

According to Maryam Nawaz, Shehr Bano maintained humanity and the law in the face of pressure, numbers, and circumstances.

She stated that it is required of every police officer to contribute to the defence of individuals’ lives and property.

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