News Analysis |
The Supreme Court (SC) while hearing a suo moto case on non-functioning tribunals and special courts was told on Monday that the prosecutor general (PG) of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was yet to be appointed because President Mamnoon Hussain rejected the five nominees forwarded by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
On January 11th, the Chief Justice of Pakistan had ordered that all vacant positions for judges should be filled within a week’s time. On Monday’s hearing, the law secretary Karamatullah Niazi submitted a file containing president’s rejection of the nominees. The three judge bench remarked that according to Article 48, Section 1(a) of the Constitution, the president is bound to approve any documents sent by the PM or the federal cabinet.
The delay in appointment will create a delay in the filing of new references and procurement of documents in the old cases.
The president has the authority to send a document back for reconsideration but he has no authority to ‘reject’ a document. Justice Saqib Nisar asked the secretary, “How can the president reject the names recommended by the prime minister?” The court was told that the president has sent back his own recommendations.
The president recommended senior lawyers Waqar Hasan Mir, Chaudhry Mohammad Ramzan and Najeeb Faisal Chaudhry, all of three of whom were rejected earlier by NAB. The position of attorney general fell vacant on 23rd November 2017 after former PG Waqar Qadeer Dar completed his tenure. In December 2017, NAB appointed Justice Shah Khawar as special prosecutor until a permanent PG was appointed. The court demanded an explanation from the president for his rejection and adjourned the hearing till 24th January.
The three judge bench remarked that according to Article 48, Section 1(a) of the Constitution, the president is bound to approve any documents sent by the PM or the federal cabinet.
There appears to be an internal tussle between the PML-N since President Mamoon Hussain, a member of PML-N rejected the recommendations of PM Khaqan Abbasi who is the leader of the PML-N government. President Mamoon has no vested interests in the appointment of the PG and it does not lie in his domain.
The apparent rift within PML-N might be another tactic to delay the appointment of the PG, it will only benefit PML-N since three references have already been filed by NAB in the accountability court and NAB is trying to reopen the Hudaibiya Mills case. The delay in appointment will create a delay in the filing of new references and procurement of documents in the old cases.