The Lahore High Court sent a notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday in a petition questioning the jurisdiction of the chairman of the investigative body and his power to restart two decades old investigation. PML-Q members Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi had lodged a petition in the high court, charging that the anti-graft agency was a strategic innovation body and asking concerns about its investigative jurisdiction.
What’s more, appeal The court demanded that the jurisdiction rule the reopening of a nearly two-decade-old lawsuit as unconstitutional. Today a two-member LHC bench heard the case where Pervez Elahi, Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, appeared before it.
The LHC subsequently released an 11 May note to the watchdog for oversight. The veteran politicians underlined in the petition that the courts have previously ruled on the position of the NAB and incorrect investigation methods. “In 2000, in compliance with the National Accountability Ordinance 1999, the then chairman of the respondent office continued to sanction inquiry against the petitioners on charges of abuse of power, non-media properties and wilful default,” they claimed in three similar petitions filed by Advocate Amjad Pervez.
The petitioners, an significant ally of the government, claimed that the creation of the Jab, its legitimacy, prejudice and usage for strategic engineering was a topic of intense discussion not just among all political parties, but also for human rights organisations and intelligentsia at national and international level.
We said the office’s actions and the way its officers use power has been judicially found in a variety of instances by the country’s superior courts as well.
The petitioners argued that all three inquiries were approved by NAB’s investigative officers and national board for termination between 2017 and 2018, while their political rivals’ government was in power.
However, they filed a bifurcation of inquiries against them into claims of properties beyond means authorised by the NAB chairman in 2019. They claimed that after a pause of around 20 years, the so-called order for the bifurcation of the inquiry was for a reason other than bona fide and the same was motivated by mala fide intentions to suppress and cage their (petitioners) position and their party in the political arena.
They argued that there was not a single item of proof or information available before the office’s then chairman to shape an opinion under NAO 1999 Section 18(c) to issue an inquiry authorisation order.
The petitioners claimed that the whole procedure from the start to execution of the prosecution is in excess of compulsory ordinance requirements. Accordingly, they argued, all acts performed by the respondent office are unconstitutional, lacking lawful jurisdiction and invalid ab initio.