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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was informed that during the tenure of PTI-led government 40 persons were acquitted by the accountability courts as a consequence of the ordinances promulgated to amend the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999.

Makhdoom Ali Khan, representing the Federation, submitted that the NAB has filed appeals before the Islamabad High Court against the acquittals. Those acquitted are the illustrious and notable personalities on both sides (PTI and PDM). He said the fate of appeals against the acquitted persons will be affected if the Court interprets the law (amendments bill). If the court reverses the law then acquittal will be affected, as well.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on Thursday heard the petition of former Prime Minister Imran Khan against the amendments in the NAO.

Makhdoom argued that PTI leaders have challenged the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act 2022 before the IHC, adding the case is still pending and the last adjournment was sought on January 23, as the apex court is hearing Imran Khan’s petition.

Justice Mansoor remarked as per the criminal code after the return of references the government and the police were obligated to send them to other forum(s). The counsel informed that the NAB chairman had formed a committee to examine the cases returned by Accountability Courts after the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022.

When Makhdoom was thoroughly explaining the law-points and the grounds taken in the petition, the chief justice remarked; “you have done forensic audit of the petition.” Makhdoom submitted that 47 questions of law have been raised, stating that in order to challenge the statutes the statutory provisions affecting the fundamental rights should be mentioned. He stated statutory provisions have been identified but no article of the constitution identified affecting the fundamental rights.

The counsel argued it is the burden on the petitioner to put the statutory provisions and show which provisions are inconsistent with the Constitution so that the court could see whether those are consistent or inconsistent. He stated petitioner submitted that due to foreign intervention, his government was dismissed. He said if the court had seen the newspapers recently it might have noticed that “imported conspiracy” has been changed into “exported conspiracy”.

Makhdoom contended that the court should wait for the facts. He submitted the petition contains 56 grounds but no facts, as the petitioner wanted that the court assumes the facts. He said in the absence of the facts should the controversy needs to be seen by this court under Article 184(3) of the constitution.

The chief justice said due to this case they are not able to proceed with other matters. He asked the counsel when does he want to finish his arguments. Makhdoom replied that he has to cite a few more judgments and the examination of the NAB provision. The case is adjourned until Tuesday (21st February).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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