NA ups the ante against judiciary, asks PAC to conduct audit of SC judge’s assets

Muhammad Anis
Sohail Khan
Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi. — SC website/File
Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi. — SC website/File 

  • Ayaz Sadiq says PAC probe only way to clear name of Justice Naqvi.
  • Matter is referred to PAC under Rule 199 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business.
  • MPs question conduct of sitting and retired judges of superior judiciary.

ISLAMABAD: Amid the ongoing tug-of-war between the parliament and the judiciary, the National Assembly on Thursday asked the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to carry out a special audit of Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi’s accounts and sources of income following corruption allegations against him, reported The News.

NA Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani referred the case to the PAC at the suggestion of Economic and Political Affairs Minister Ayaz Sadiq. He had asked the deputy speaker to conduct a special audit of the judge with the help of the auditor general of Pakistan and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Sadiq had said the Supreme Court judge should be asked to explain his source of income, how he purchased a plot costing more than Rs100 million, paid taxes on the plot deal and the source of money with which he was constructing a house on the plot.

“This is the only way that the name of Justice Mazahar Naqvi can be cleared,” Ayaz Sadiq said, adding that all the judges were respectable to them but their image was being blotted due to a single judge against whom fingers were being pointed and bar councils had also filed references against him.

Sadiq said that overseeing any matter was the prerogative of the NA and its committees. He said that a joint team of the FBR and auditor general should furnish a report to the PAC within 15 days after conducting a special audit.

The chair said that the matter is referred to the PAC under Rule 199 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the House.

During the session, the lawmakers also questioned the conduct of sitting and retired judges of the superior judiciary.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Shaikh Rohale Asghar, on a point of order, said a senior lawyer, who later became a judge of the Supreme Court, gave relief to his former client. He urged the federal government to dig into the case as it pertained to misconduct on the part of a judge.

Justice Naqvi was sworn in as a judge of the Supreme Court in 2020 on the seat left vacant after the retirement of Asif Saeed Khosa.

The top court judge is under scrutiny following an audio leak related to him. In the alleged audio, former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi could be heard talking about managing courts.

In March, Secretary General of PML-N lawyers forum Zahid Hussain Malik and the Pakistan Bar Council also filed a reference against the judge.

Following this, other bar councils of the countries also filed a complaint against the judge.

However, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial is yet to call a meeting of the SJC on the issue.

Two of the senior judges of the apex court, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, in April, had urged the CJP to convene a meeting of the SJC to investigate the misconduct complaints filed against Justice Naqvi.