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HomePakistanNAB moves to revive graft cases | The Express Tribune

NAB moves to revive graft cases | The Express Tribune



ISLAMABAD:

To comply with the Supreme Court’s order of striking down some sections of the amendments made to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) of 1999 by the previous government, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to revive over 81 corruption cases involving prominent politicians, including Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, and others.

The anti-graft body on Wednesday filed an application at the Islamabad accountability court to reopen the corruption cases.

A copy of the Supreme Court judgment calling for restoration of the cases against public office holders was attached with the plea.

In the judgment, a three-member bench, comprising the then chief justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah gave details of the number of cases and the total amount of money involved in the cases.

The judgment came with a 2-1 majority, as Justice Shah wrote the note of dissent.

The apex court’s decision on PTI chief Imran Khan’s plea, challenging the amendments to the law, opened floodgates for many as the NAB’s report submitted before the court had named the leaders of almost all major political parties, who benefited from the law tweaks.

As a result of the 2022 amendments, a large number of references filed by NAB in accountability courts were affected.

The data, as provided by the additional prosecutor general of NAB, revealed that 386 references were returned by the accountability courts to NAB in 2022, whereas 212 in 2023. Therefore, it added, a total of 598 references had been returned so far.

The beneficiaries among others included caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, former prime minister Nawaz, former president Zardari, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maryam Nawaz, Faryal Talpur, Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Asif, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Rana Sanaullah, Javed Lateef, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Amir Mehmood Kayani, Akram Durrani, Saleem Mandviwalla, Noor Alam Khan, Nawab Aslam Riasani, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, Barjees Tahir, Nawab Ali Wasan, Sharjeel Inam Memom, Liaqat Jatoi, Amir Maqam, Gohram Bugti, Jaffer Khan Mandokhel and G-B Governor Syed Mehdi Shah.

A source revealed that the records of the cases would be presented in court on Thursday (today), where they would be closely examined.

Read also: Shehbaz ‘regrets’ SC verdict in NAB amendments case

The decision was taken in a top-level meeting in NAB to discuss the implementation of the top court’s decision.

During the meeting, it was decided that all cases that had previously been transferred or returned to other courts due to the NAB amendment would be resubmitted to the accountability courts.

To expedite the process, legal steps would be taken to ensure an early hearing of these cases.

Prosecution directorates across the country had been directed to take immediate action.

The meeting also resolved that all documents related to the ongoing cases in the accountability courts of Islamabad would be compiled according to the pre-NAB amendment regulations.

Moreover, cases that had been transferred to other courts would be redirected to the Islamabad Accountability Court for rehearing in the coming days.

As a result of this decision, a case against Dar for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income would also be reopened. The NAB sources further revealed that the fake accounts cases against Zardari had also been reinstated.

Additionally, the rental power case against former National Assembly speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf would also be reopened.

The notorious Toshakhana vehicle case involving Nawaz, Zardari, and Yousaf Raza Gillani was also on the list of cases to be re-examined.

 

Cases in limbo at NAB Lahore

However, despite the apex court’s clear instructions to strike down accountability amendments and send important cases to the accountability courts, the cases of the NAB Lahore continued to remain pending.

One of the important cases that had yet to reach the court was the Ramzan Sugar Mills reference, which involved former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son, Hamza Shehbaz. Despite the court’s orders, the case remained in limbo.

Similarly, the Paragon reference against former minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq and his brother, Salman Rafiq, had not been sent to the court.

Further, the reference pertaining to illegal contracts of mineral reserves in Chiniot, involving Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan and others, was supposed to be restored, but it still awaited its day in court.

Another case that awaited restoration was the reference of illegal recruitment in Punjab University, in which former vice chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran and others were involved.

The Punjab Youth Festival reference against former DG Sports Usman Anwar was yet to be revived, as per the SC’s orders.

(With input from our Lahore correspondent)





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