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NAB moves the court against interior ministry; Stand on Principle or Topi drama?

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National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has stated that it will expend all its resources to place the names of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Capt (Retd) Safar in the Exit Control List (ECL) and it is planning to move the court against the Sharif family.

NAB had on Wednesday requested the Interior Ministry to place the names of the Sharif family on the ECL, on a suspicion that they might be fleeing the country to avoid conviction, after they requested leave from court to go to the UK. The last hearing on 13th February also did not take place as Maryam and Capt. Safdar’s lawyer did not appear. The interior ministry refused NAB’s request, stating that there is no full court order for it.

Democracy can only be weakened if individuals are placed above the law of the land – or the law of the land is changed for the sake of individuals. Respect for the law is an essential leg of support for democracy.

NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Khaliq u Zaman while talking to a local paper on Friday told them that the interior ministry has never previously refused NAB’s request to place names of suspects on ECL. “Even in the case of Ishaq Dar (former finance minister), the interior ministry said that he was already out of the country and, therefore, there was no need to place his name on the ECL,” said the NAB Deputy Prosecutor.

The interior ministry’s actions are also considered unusual since it is always the suspect who moves the court of law against their placement on the ECL, not the other way around. In the case of former President General Pervez Musharraf, he had to move the Supreme Court (SC) against his placement on the ECL, the state institutes didn’t have to move the courts for placing his name in the ECL.

Read more: NAB requests interior ministry to place name of Nawaz, Maryam and…

The interior ministry’s refusal is on weak grounds given the trial is nearing conclusion and there is a good chance they may flee if they feel it will convict them on corruption. Former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son in law Capt (Retd) Safdar are facing three corruption references in an accountability court in Islamabad.

Imran Khan on this statement tweeted Saturday morning that politicians are voted in by the people, however, dispensation of justice for the people takes place in the courts.

The references were filed by NAB on the orders of the SC in its 28th July 2017 verdict which disqualified Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister of Pakistan. The three suspects are accused of money laundering, tax evasion and hiding their offshore assets.

During the hearing of the graft cases at the accountability court in Islamabad on 13th February, Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz requested for a two week exemption from the hearing starting from 19th February. They stated that Nawaz’s wife and Maryam’s mother, Kulsoom Nawaz, was under treatment in London and they had to go there to visit her.

Read more: Supreme Court once again rejects Nawaz’s appeal to get NAB references…

NAB had earlier filed a supplementary reference against the Sharif family in the Avenfield properties case and seven new witnesses were set to record their hearings, including two UK based witnesses who’ll record their statements via video links. They were supposed to record their statements on Tuesday but the lawyer of Maryam Nawaz and Capt (Retd) Safdar was not present in the court at that time so the hearing was delayed till 22nd February.

Former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son in law Capt (Retd) Safdar are facing three corruption references in an accountability court in Islamabad.

It is an extremely difficult predicament for the PML-N government, whose party chairman is Nawaz Sharif, to act against him and his heir apparent, Maryam Nawaz. Given the way party politics work in Pakistan, it is tantamount to putting their positions within the party in jeopardy. This was the same scenario in which Yusuf Raza Gillani, accepted contempt of court, rather than go against his party leadership and was disqualified to be PM. Furthermore, NAB officials, who are under control of the PML-N government also are in a similar predicament for their jobs.

Topi drama or sincere in purpose?

Given the fact that both institutions involved are under the aegis of the PML-N government – the litmus test for NAB is not its declarations to the public, but how well it prepares to win the case, provides documentation and how effective it is – this is the real test for NAB’s sincerity of declaration. Analysts contest that NAB did not prepare for the Hudaibiya case at all and presented a very weak case in front of the Supreme court. Isaac Dar has not been issued a red warrant or placed on the ECL as a result.

Read more: Nawaz Sharif and family appear before NAB court

Legal experts believe that the interior minister will use delay tactics, giving enough time to Nawaz to flee. It is also unclear whether the PML-N government will place the name of the Sharif family in the ECL even after court orders, since Maryam Nawaz has openly declared that, “The verdict will now be passed by the people and not the courts.”

It appears that NAB is ready to expend all its resources to place the names of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Capt (Retd) Safar in the ECL as the NAB is planning to move the court against the Sharif family.

She said this while addressing a social media convention in Mansehra District. Even though she was talking about the 28th July Panama Papers verdict, she challenged the judiciary. Imran Khan on this statement tweeted Saturday morning that politicians are voted in by the people, however, the dispensation of justice for the people takes place in the courts.

Currently, the executive and the legislative institutions are in the hands of the PML-N government and they have openly declared a war on the third leg of the state – judiciary. Democracy can only be weakened if individuals are placed above the law of the land – or the law of the land is changed for the sake of individuals. Respect for the law is an essential leg of support for democracy.


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