Pakistan

SC Begins Hearing Appeals Challenging NAB Law Amendments

ISLAMABAD: On Thursday, the Supreme Court commenced hearings on intra-court appeals against the annulment of amendments to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws.

The appeals are being reviewed by a five-member bench led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, including Justice Aminuddin, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Athar Minallah, and Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi.

Imran Khan, the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), appeared in court via video link from Adiala Jail.

In the previous hearing, the Supreme Court had directed lawyer Khawaja Haris to consult with his client, PTI founder Imran Khan, in jail.

Imran Khan had originally challenged the NAB law amendments. A three-member Supreme Court bench had declared the amendments null and void based on Khan’s petition. The federal government has since filed intra-court appeals against the decision of this bench.

The NAB Amendments Case

In September 2023, a three-member Supreme Court bench approved a petition by former Prime Minister Imran Khan challenging amendments to the country’s accountability laws made during the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government.

This bench, headed by then-Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and including Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, conducted over 50 hearings. In a 2-1 majority verdict, the court reinstated graft cases against public office holders that had been closed following the amendments.

The Supreme Court’s decision mandated the reopening of all graft cases worth less than Rs500 million that had been closed against political leaders and public officials, rendering the amendments void.

The ruling has significant implications, as it means that corruption cases against prominent political figures will return to accountability courts. These cases include the Toshakhana reference against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, the LNG reference against former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and the rental power reference against another ex-premier Raja Pervez Ashraf.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision, the federal government filed an appeal against the order.

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