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Toshakhana case: Notice issued to NAB for summoning Imran, Bushra Bibi without reason

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  • IHC takes up Khan, wife’s pleas challenging the call-up notices.
  • One petition urges NAB call-up notices be declared illegal. 
  • Court remarks it is “not restricting NAB from anything now”.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday issued a notice to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for summoning Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, in the Toshakhana case without following the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The IHC took up the pleas filed by Khan and Bushra Bibi, challenging the call-up notices of February 17 and March 16 issued by the anti-graft watchdog.

Bushra Bibi’s petition prayed to the court that the NAB call-up notices should be declared illegal. 

It moved the court to stay the inquiry by changing the investigation till the final decision of the Toshakhana case and also stay the disciplinary action against the petitioners based on the call-up notices.

A division bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the pleas. 

Khawaja Haris, the counsel representing the former premier and first lady, maintained that the NAB’s notices didn’t state in which capacity the information was being sought.

“Providing complete information about the notices is mandatory for NAB as per the judicial orders,” Advocate Haris said.

At this, CJ Farooq inquired about the procedure of serving notices as per the latest NAB amendments.

“The Amendment Act says the NAB must establish a reason and communicate it [to the receiver] for summoning someone,” the lawyer said responding to the query.

“As per the amendment law, it should be mentioned whether anyone was summoned as an accused or summoned for any other reason.”

At this, CJ Farooq inquired whether Imran Khan received the summons.

The lawyer then presented the NAB’s call-up notices served to Khan, in court.

“We weren’t provided information in the notices. It only mentioned that it was about an inquiry against public office holders,” the lawyer stated.

He further stated that the Cabinet Division and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), which also come under the banner of public offices, were also involved in the Toshakhana gifts case.

The CJ of the IHC then asked if Imran Khan appeared [before NAB authorities] in response to these notices.

“No he (Khan) did not,” the lawyer replied and added, “He sent a written response only”.

At this, Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz asked did the NAB take any action against Khan over his response. “No, it did not,” the lawyer replied.

“Maybe they [NAB] are convinced with Imran Khan’s response that there was not case,” CJ Farooq observed.

At this, the lawyer said that petitioners feared that NAB would turn the inquiry into an investigation.

“The notice was served the next day after [former NAB chairman] Aftab Sultan resigned,” the lawyer contended.

The court then asked the NAB prosecutor to present his arguments.

The IHC CJ asked if a notice had been served to Khan again.

At this, the NAB prosecutor informed the court that a reminder had been sent to the former premier.

“Your notices do not reflect compliance with judicial orders. We are not restricting NAB from anything now,” CJ Farooq remarked before reserving the verdict on Khan and Bushra Bibi’s pleas.

The court announced the verdict later while issuing notices to NAB for its reply. 

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A joint parliamentary party meeting is called by PTI and SIC.

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A joint parliamentary party meeting was held on Thursday in Parliament House, Islamabad, by the Sunni-Ittehad Council and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

The sources state that representatives from both parties attended the meeting and discussed a range of topics.

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PTI will petition the SJC to stop the “arbitrary” selection of ad hoc judges.

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Barrister Gohar, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), declared on Thursday that the government would collapse if the PTI was outlawed.

After attending the PTI and Sunni-Ittehad Council (SIC) joint parliamentary party meeting, the PTI chief, along with PTI leaders Omar Ayub Khan, Shibli Faraz, and Asad Qaiser, spoke to the media. They announced that they would petition the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to stop the appointment of ad hoc judges to the highest court.

Since the PTI is widespread throughout the nation, he claimed that it represents 70% of Pakistanis and that it shouldn’t be treated unfairly in any setting.

The PTI head attacked the plan to nominate four ad hoc judges to the supreme court, claiming that doing so will undermine the judiciary’s independence.

“This choice is motivated by bad intentions. This is the moment to hear the rulings of the SC, not to make such choices. He stressed, “We demand that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) release our notifications immediately.

Moreover, Omar Ayub Khan, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, blasted the Chief Justice of Pakistan for appointing judges who share his views and urged the CJP to refrain from assigning the PTI’s cases to ad hoc judges.

Additionally, Senate Opposition Leader Shibli Faraz criticised the government for fabricating accusations against Bushra Bibi and Imran Khan.

Asad Qaiser, a former speaker of the NA, stated that Nawaz Sharif intended to leave the country for London, but he insisted that the former prime minister should apologise to the people before leaving this time. Additionally, he asked the administration to follow the constitution rather than enforcing anarchy throughout the nation.

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A party may be banned by the government under Article 17: Sana Rana

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Article 17 of the Constitution, according to PML-N senior leader Rana Sanullah Khan, gives the government the authority to declare a political party illegal.

During an appearance on a TV talk show, Sanaullah stated that the Supreme Court will review a decree banning a political party within 15 days of the cabinet’s approval.

Sanaullah stated that the government had just so far stated its intentions about the PTI’s prohibition, but that “a ban is imposed on that party if the apex court agrees to the declaration.”
The constitutional procedure will be followed, he said, whenever the administration makes a decision.

Like the PTI, the former minister remarked, the government has the right to voice its opinions and work towards achievement.

“There is no harm in making efforts if the government has an option to get the reserved seats through constitutional means,” he said.

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