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Pakistan

NAB, FIA cases: SC puts restrictions on what actions authorities can take

  • Top court bench issues notices to FIA director-general, NAB chairman and the interior secretary
Updated 19 May, 2022

The Supreme Court (SC) put restrictions on Thursday on what actions authorities can take when it comes to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) cases.

It said authorities cannot withdraw any cases, make new appointments or transfer any officials.

A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial heard the matter today.

During the hearing, Justice Bandial said that FIA's former director Mohammad Rizwan, who was probing the money laundering charges against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, was transferred and later died of a heart attack.

The CJP said these developments are concerning.

The SC has issued notices to the FIA director-general, NAB chairman and the interior secretary and sought their explanation as to why there was interference in criminal cases.

The apex court also barred NAB and FIA from withdrawing cases till further orders.

On Wednesday, the chief justice took suo motu notice on the recommendations of a SC judge, of perceived interference in the independence of the prosecution branch in the performance of its powers and duties of pending criminal matters involving persons in authority in the government today.

Purported interference in criminal justice system by persons in authority in govt: CJP takes notice; matter to be heard by 5 judges today

It is apprehended that such perceived interference may influence the prosecution of cases, tampering/disappearing of evidence in courts or in possession of prosecuting agencies, and transfer/postings of officer on key posts.

The statement issued by the SC PRO department said that such actions, along with media reports to modify accountability laws, are likely to undermine the functioning of the criminal justice system in the country and that tantamount to violation of fundamental rights affecting the society as a whole and eroding the confidence of the people in the rule of law and constitutionalism in the country.

The suo motu notice comes amid the FIA's money laundering case against PM Shehbaz and Hamza whose indictment has been delayed since February.

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