Friday, September 15, 2023
The major Supreme Court verdict on Friday on the amendments made to the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) laws created a stir in political circles as it restored the corruption cases against political bigwigs.
A three-member bench — headed by outgoing Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ijazul Ahsan — in a majority 2-1 verdict approved Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's petition challenging the passage of NAB amendments by the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government.
While reacting to the development, former interior minister Rana Sanaullah said that he hasn't read the SC's written verdict yet.
"The Supreme Court's controversial bench gave a controversial verdict," he said, adding that the chief justice who is about to retire has caused the most harm to the institution of judiciary.
Sanaullah said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders have faced the inquires in their respective cases.
"Nearly 13 cases are registered against the PTI chairman. He should face the inquiries and have a taste of it. Let's see how he [Imran Khan] gets scores of bails," he added.
The politician said that he was of the view that the "unkind" law of NAB should not be abolished because PML-N leaders have borne the brunt of it.
"Now the PTI and its chief may celebrate the old NAB law," he said, adding that the deposed prime minister would have to undergo 90 days remands and won't even get bail in the cases he is facing.
He said that the PTI would not be able to say that they are being "politically victimised".
The former security czar further said that Nawaz's legal team is looking into the matter, he will return like a "free citizen" of Pakistan and aqcuire protective bails.
PML-N supremo's return date is final, he added.
Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rashid, who is a close aide of Imran Khan, said that Justice Bandial, who is to retire as the country's top judge on September 16, has "hit a great sixer on the last ball of his last innings".
"A thief can never become a security guard; he will remain a thief," Rashid said, adding that the leaders of the former government tried hard to close their cases for the last 16 months.
Reacting to the decision, PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan said the verdict has placed the criminal clan of "Sharifs, Zardaris, Gilanis" back in the dock.
"SC annuls the self-serving NAB amendments with a majority of 2 to 1 thus reinstating all cases in relevant courts of law against these looters & plunderers of national wealth," the politician wrote, taking to X, formerly Twitter.
"One hopes that he would stand on the side of justice & hold this bunch of criminals to account for grave travesties they committed through their tenures in power," the PTI spokesperson also wrote.
He added that delivering justice is a fundamental prerequisite to helping the country move forward. "Pakistan needs it more today than ever before."
Meanwhile, PTI lawyer Shoaib Shaheen hoped that NAB would not be used for political engineering.
"Even today, NAB is being used against the PTI chairman. It is hoped that NAB will not be used for political engineering," he said, reacting to the decision.
The lawyer, who is part of Khan's legal team, said that the PDM government made NAB amendments as soon as it came into power, which were struck down by the Supreme Court.
"An attempt was made to get rid of the cases of Maqsood Chaprasi and papad walas. Now all those cases will be resumed and will continue from where they stopped," he added.
He claimed that several modifications were made to the NAB law with the aim of taking advantage of it.
"The amendments were prepared by the Sharif family's personal lawyers," he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that today's verdict has raised questions over the future of several politicians in the country whose political careers are now in the hands of NAB, as their cases, as per the court's decision, would be reopened under the anti-graft body's laws.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, former president Asif Ali Zardari, former premier Yousuf Raza Gillani and others are likely to face inquiries after the striking down of some of the amendments made to the accountability laws.