The Supreme Court on Friday observed that it would examine changes being made to the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 — the NAB law — by the federal government as it could not overlook the efforts to “minimise the role” of the accountability watchdog.
The remarks were made by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial during the hearing of a suo moto case against alleged intervention in high-profile cases, including that of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, by the government.
A five-member bench comprising Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, is hearing the case.
During the hearing today, the chief justice also commented on the appointment of the new NAB chief following the retirement of Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal. The top judge hoped the federal government would appoint a person of integrity to head the bureau.
The CJ told the NAB prosecutor general to inform the apex court in case there was pressure on the accountability watchdog to drop certain cases.
The judge also asked the NAB lawyer to pursue corruption cases that could lead to a conviction and drop those where evidence was lacking.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan told the accountability watchdog to share a complete record of high-profile cases with the top court.
‘Reconsider ECL changes’
The top court had also taken up the issue of the removal of names from the Exit Control List (ECL) by the government through a decision made by the cabinet.
During the hearing, the bench said it would give time to the government to reconsider amendments to the ECL rules.
The CJP said that the court’s objections regarding the conflict of interest and the applicability of ECL rules retrospectively had substance as members of the cabinet were on the ECL themselves.
The chief justice further said that they do not want to interfere in the executive affairs at this time as one of the beneficiaries of these amendments – Finance Minister Miftah Ismail – may have gone abroad for important assignments.