Supreme Court Declares Amendments To NAB Laws Illegal, Orders To Restore Corruption Cases Against Public ...

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah submitted his dissenting note in the judgement that was decided by two judges against one

Supreme Court Declares Amendments To NAB Laws Illegal, Orders To Restore Corruption Cases Against Public Office Holders

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday declared that the amendments made by the outgoing Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law were illegal and that all cases which had been returned to the anti-graft watchdog as a consequence of the law would be restored.

The decision was decided by a majority of the three-member bench led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice  Mansoor Ali Shah. Justice Shah did not agree with his brother judges and, opposed the decision and wrote a dissenting note. The dissenting note was note read out in court as per tradition.

The three-judge bench pronounced the decision on a petition filed by former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, among others.

The court decided that the petition against amendments made to the NAB law was maintainable for hearing under Articles 9, 14, 24, and 25 of the Constitution and that several clauses in the amendments violated the Constitution.

In particular, the court voided the amendments, which prevented NAB from filing references against those officials who had been appointed to constitutional roles or cases which were of less than Rs500 million.

The court decided that the orders given by accountability courts in light of the amendments to the NAB laws were also declared illegal, and thus, all cases against such individuals were restored, and NAB was ordered to resume investigations and inquiries and to send the record regarding these cases back to the relevant accountability courts.

By doing so, the court effectively restored some 2,027 cases, including cases against several politicians who had held government positions including the likes of former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif in the sugar mills case, Nawaz Sharif in the Toshakhana case, and former planning minister Ahsan Iqbal in the Narowal City case among others including cases against senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Maryam Nawaz, former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in the Toshakhana case, Pink Residence reference against Zardari, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) case against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a reference against Shaukat Tareen was also restored, Raja Pervez Ashraf and the Omni Group's Abdul Aziz Majeed and Anwar Majeed, and cases against Maulana Fazlur Rehman were restored.

The case against caretaker prime minister Anwarul Haq Kakar was also restored, as were cases against Faryal Talpur, former federal ministers including Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Saad Rafique, and Rana Sanaullah/

Other politicians who could see their cases reopen include Javed Latif, along with Akram Durrani, Saleem Mandviwala, former Public Accounts Committee Chairman Noor Alam Khan, former Balochistan chief minister Nawaz Aslam Raisani, Dr Malik Baloch, former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, former federal minister Birjees Tahir, Nawab Ali Wassan, Sharjeel Memon, Latif Jatoi, Engineer Amir Muqam, Jaffar Khan Mandokhel, former Gilgit-Baltistan governor Mehdi Shah, Abdul Aleem Khan, Syed Adil Gilani, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members including Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and Amir Mehmood Kiani, 

In those cases where individuals had amassed assets beyond their known sources of income, the court ruled that the amendment would remain to the extent of individuals who hold/held public office.

The amendment to the plea bargain clause was also declared illegal.

Clauses relating to 'benami' properties and accounts were also voided.

Among the 2,027 cases restored, 755 cases were at the stage of inquiry, 292 were at the investigation stage, 510 cases were returned for being under Rs500 million in value, 168 cases pertained to amassing assets beyond means, 213 cases were filed under Section 9-A, and 89 cases of fraud were also restored.