Home Global Village “Will a resolution be passed against the SC,” asks Chief Justice Nisar

“Will a resolution be passed against the SC,” asks Chief Justice Nisar

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News Analysis |

The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar commented on the recent resolution passed in the Punjab Assembly against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and expressed his displeasure. The top judge inquired Chief Secretary of the Punjab Zahid Syed whether their political ‘masters’ will now pass a resolution against the Supreme Court as well.

The CJP was heading a bench hearing of corruption allegations against the Ashiyana Housing Scheme. Director General (DG) of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Zahid Akhtar Zaman also appeared before the court. The CJP grilled DG LDA regarding the process commencing contracts with private companies for law and developments works.

Chief Secretary also inquired regarding Ahad Cheema’s income and incentives. “DMG officers earn 100,000 and Cheema earned 125,000”, stated the chief secretary. The CJP also summoned details of Cheema’s service profile, salary, perks and incentives.

Attempts to influence the NAB or its proceeding question the idea of separation of power in a democracy. The ruling party in Punjab through exerting extra-constitutional influence seems to be compromising the future of democracy in Pakistan.

The chief secretary was asked a number of questions by CJP regarding the basis of the resolution against NAB being passed in the assembly, “Tell your political bosses to get another resolution passed against the Supreme Court as it summons you (bureaucrats),” CJP Nisar told Punjab Chief Secretary.

Regarding the strike observed by the officials of the Pakistan Administration Service (PAS) against the arrest of Mr. Cheema the top judge asked the chief secretary to clarify the matter,“If any officer wants to resign, submit it before us. We would get that approved”, said CJP Nisar.

Read more: Is Chief Justice Saqib Nisar apolitical?

Punjab Assembly Passed a Resolution against NAB

Punjab Assembly on February 28, 2018 passed a resolution, which was presented by Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, against the NAB over the recent actions taken by the NAB. The Members Punjab Assembly (MPAs) demanded of the federal government to amend the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 to prohibit the use of “illegal powers”.

“This house shows severe concerns over the actions of NAB that are against the spirit of basic human rights and human dignity. The actions of NAB to intimidate and ridicule the officers of high government ranks are illegal,” stated the resolution.

When the strike and verbal attacks did not help the Punjab government to get the intended outcomes, they decided to pass a resolution against the NAB in the assembly. This seems to be a planned strategy of the ruling party to put pressure over the NAB.

“Harassing senior officials, insulting them, highlighting their names in media, and doing character assassination on the part of NAB is illegal and unethical,” further read the resolution. The resolution also demanded to eliminate the plea bargain clause from the ordinance.

“Moreover, amendments should be made in the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance 1999 to abolish the illegal powers and the section of plea bargain must also be abolished because this very section provides a safe exit to plunderers and corrupt people,” the resolution stated.

Read more: Chief Justice Pakistan puts an end to fake law colleges

Imran Khan Condemns the Resolution

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has severely criticized the resolution passed by the Punjab Assembly against the NAB. Khan while addressing the media on Wednesday commented on the resolution, “Whenever the Supreme Court or the accountability watchdog takes up a case related to the Sharif family’s corruption, they come under attack from the PML-N”, stated the chairman PTI.

He further alleged Sharif family of destroying the institutions for their personal interests.

“Sharif family acts like a mafia and tries to control all the institutions. The institutions that do not take dictation are from them are targeted. Earlier, the Pakistan Army and the apex court were under attack and now the NAB is being assaulted by the PML-N for taking up corruption cases against the Sharif family. Institutions are being destroyed in bid to save their (Sharif’s) wealth,” stated Khan.

The top judge inquired Chief Secretary of the Punjab Zahid Syed whether their political ‘masters’ will now pass a resolution against the Supreme Court as well.

The CJP was heading a bench hearing of corruption allegations against the Ashiyana Housing Scheme.

He further explained that in past nine years, the Punjab government has spent 9 trillion rupees. “The people of Punjab should ask the ruling party where this money was spent on. Is this money utilized to make new schools, hospitals, water supply lines or to control law and order situation in the province? The truth is this that the money was misused on those expensive mega projects where huge kick-backs were involved,” emphasized Khan.

Read more: Chaudhry Nisar’s political ascendancy at a crossroads

Putting NAB under Pressure

The Punjab government seems uncomfortable over the arrest of Ahad Cheema who is reported to be a personal favorite of the Chief Minister of Punjab. Several bureaucrats observed a strike when Mr. Cheema was arrested by the NAB officials. Law Minster Rana Sanaullah advocated for the release of CM’s “favorite man”. When the strike and verbal attacks did not help the Punjab government to get the intended outcomes, they decided to pass a resolution against the NAB in the assembly. This seems to be a planned strategy of the ruling party to put pressure over the NAB.

According to the principles of separation of power and role-autonomy, the NAB has a legal mandate to work independently in order to ensure transparency and corruption-free development. Attempts to influence the NAB or its proceeding question the idea of separation of power in a democracy. The ruling party in Punjab through exerting extra-constitutional influence seems to be compromising the future of democracy in Pakistan.


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