The Supreme Court on Thursday barred officials from recruiting and transferring officials involved in “high profile” and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases and those heard by special courts.
The orders came as a five-judge judge ruled in favor of suo motu over fears that criminal justice might be undermined by people in positions of authority. The bench included Pakistani Chief Justice (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar.
The court also issued notices to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) general director, NAB chairman and internal secretary. The court asked the parties concerned to provide information as to why there was an “intervention” in criminal cases. Notices have also been issued to all provincial prosecutors and the FIA’s legal director.
During the negotiations, the CJP noted that “there should be no disruption to the prosecution process or the prosecution wing”.
The CJP also claims that former FIA director Mohammad Rizwan, who was investigating allegations of money laundering against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Punjab Prime Minister Hamza Shahbaz, was also replaced and later died of a heart attack.
“We are concerned about this development,” the CJP said. Justice Bandial also said that according to media reports, “thousands” of people have benefited after their names were removed from the flight list.
“We have seen reports like this last month. This has an impact on the law, ”the CJP said, adding that it was the court’s responsibility to maintain peace and trust in society under the Constitution.
The CJP also said that the suo motu was not intended to humiliate or hold anyone accountable. “It is designed to protect the criminal justice system and the law,” he said.
The court wants the implementation of Article 10-A (fair hearing) and Article 4 (the proper procedure), he said, adding that notices were issued to the parties concerned. He also expressed hope that the unity government would work together to provide information.
Suo motu notice
Earlier in the day, the CJP took suo motu’s notice about the SC judge’s recommendations regarding the alleged intervention by the prosecution’s independence in the exercise of its powers and investigative functions and prosecuting pending criminal cases involving government officials. .
According to a press release issued by the high court, such interventions could lead to prosecution cases, lead to irregularities or loss of evidence in the courts or to having prosecution agencies and lead to changes and appointments of officials.
The media reported that such actions, along with “news reports” about changes in accountability laws, are likely to “undermine” the functioning of the country’s justice system.
“That’s it [is tantamount] violation of fundamental rights affecting society as a whole and erosion [of] The people’s confidence in the rule of law and the constitution of the country, ”he added.
The SC publication did not indicate what “pending criminal cases” referred to. However, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is currently prosecuting Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Hamza Shehbaz, whose case has been delayed since February.
The announcement also comes amid allegations by PTI that shortly after taking office, the current government is alleged to have started lobbying various cases and referring investigators or presiding officers, especially those related to allegations of corruption.
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It is also worth mentioning here that the key figures in the new coalition parties have called for the complete abolition of the National Accountability Agency (NAB) or for amendments to anti-corruption laws.
On Tuesday, cabinet agreed to amend the NAB’s “strict rules” to remove political harassment. A committee was set up at the meeting, to be chaired by the minister of justice. for this purpose.
Lots to follow