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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Imran khan likely to appear in SC on 16 May via video link in NAB amendments case

The decision was made by a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa during a hearing on the federal government's intra-court appeal (ICA)

The Supreme Court (SC) has authorized imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan to attend court proceedings via video link in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) amendments case. The decision was made by a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa during a hearing on the federal government’s intra-court appeal (ICA) against the majority judgment that deemed the amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 2002 illegal.

The other members of this significant bench included Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Athar Minallah, and Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi. The entire proceedings were broadcast live on the apex court’s website.

At the commencement of the hearing, both the NAB prosecutor general and the lawyer representing the Punjab government announced their alignment with the federal government’s stance in the case. On the contrary, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) advocate general expressed support for nullifying the NAB amendments.

During the discussion, Justice Aminuddin Khan highlighted the issue of NAB’s involvement in political maneuvers and mentioned that the former premier had requested to present his case personally in court. The court granted permission for him to provide evidence via video link and instructed the attorney general to facilitate the operational setup for this purpose.

Justice Athar Minallah remarked on the historical support for NAB ordinances, including from Imran Khan himself, but also noted the criticisms leveled against NAB for impacting the economy and fundamental rights. The court emphasized that the amendments were aimed at protecting the fundamental rights of individuals falsely accused by NAB, expressing disappointment in NAB’s failures to combat corruption effectively and its involvement in political manipulation.

Apex Court inquired NAB’s recent progress 

The bench raised concerns about NAB’s actions leading to injustices against innocent individuals and questioned whether NAB had overstepped its legal boundaries. Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa likened NAB’s actions to martial law, criticizing the swift enactment of NAB laws and highlighting the challenges arising from such legislative actions under democratic governance.

More to read:Imran Khan to Address Army Chief Gen Asim Munir on National Crises

The apex court adjourned the hearing until May 16, requesting detailed information from NAB regarding the number of politicians proven innocent and imprisoned, as well as specifics about the incarceration of politicians. This case dates back to June 25, 2022, when Imran Khan contested the amendments to NAB laws, arguing that they would facilitate public officeholders in escaping white-collar crimes. The majority decision by the apex court declared the amendments to NAO 2000 unconstitutional, mandating the reopening of corruption cases against political leaders and public officeholders.