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Supreme Court annuls amendments to NAB Ordinance

  • A three-judge bench, headed by CJP Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah announce reserved verdict
Published September 15, 2023

The Supreme Court (SC) scrapped on Friday amendments made to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999 last year and admitted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s petition challenging it.

A three-judge bench, headed by CJP Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, announced the reserved verdict, which included restoring graft cases against public office holders that were closed down following the amendments.

These include the Toshakhana reference against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Supremo Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, along with the LNG reference against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the rental power reference against former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

Meanwhile, the CJP and Justice Ahsan declared the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman’s plea to be maintainable while Justice Shah disagreed with the majority verdict.

The apex court declared null and void the verdicts issued by the accountability courts in light of the amendments made to the laws and directed NAB to send the record to the relevant courts within seven days.

Last year in May, the National Assembly had passed bills to abolish election reforms made by PTI when it was in power, giving overseas Pakistanis the right to vote, and made amendments to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws.

Imran filed a petition in June, 2022, challenging changes in various provisions of the NAO which were made allegedly to benefit influential accused persons and legitimise corruption of those whose case were pending before the Accountability Courts.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had reserved judgment on the petition. At the time, the chief justice had said: “Cooperation and valuable assistance rendered by petitioner’s counsel Khawaja Haris, the federation’s lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan and prosecutor general NAB was great.”

“We will retire to consider and reserve it, and announce the decision soon. Something short and sweet should come out, that may be done soon.”

Amendments to the bill

As per the NAB (Second Amendment) Bill 2021, the bureau’s deputy chairman, to be appointed by the federal government, would become the acting chairman of NAB following the completion of the tenure of the chairman.

The bill also reduced the four-year term of the NAB chairman and the bureau’s prosecutor general to three years.

The bill states that regulatory bodies functioning in the country have also been placed out of NAB’s domain.

The bill also limited NAB’s jurisdiction to cases involving over Rs500 million.


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Johnny Walker Sep 15, 2023 01:40pm
What now? Will the corrupt prosecutors of the NAB make more money by reopening cases and not letting courts conclude the cases. Seems like one of the judges had a soft corner for the corrupt.
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Parvez Sep 15, 2023 02:04pm
Sensible logical judgement..... those NAB amendments were clearly person specific and violated the basic principle of justice. Sadly this decision took too long in coming diluting its impact.
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KU Sep 15, 2023 02:05pm
A good action by the SC, the NAB amendments were a cruel joke for justice in Pakistan and had brought much shame to the country. The nation at least deserves to know the sources of corrupt money and laundering and other tales and lies on corruption. While we will be quick to judge the decision ourselves as correct or wrong, one should make an effort to get a copy of the detailed judgment or read it online when available.
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Arsala Erum Ahmed Sep 15, 2023 03:35pm
Finally CJ Bandial has done something good for the people of Pakistan ,in his tenure .
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Sarfaraz Sep 15, 2023 03:56pm
At last a ray of hope. Nation can not move forward without implementing justice on elite corrupt mafia too.
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Zaheer Ahmad Sep 15, 2023 06:01pm
Justice delayed is justice denied, Supreme Court could not make the point. this judgment should have come a bit earlier, but now this is more of a futile effort on the part of outgoing CJP to clothe his stained legacy. As far as NAB is concerned, it is no longer working under credible personnel.
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Builder Sep 15, 2023 06:06pm
I assume that with this verdict, Sharif and Bhutto dynasties will get hurt badly. I'm in favour of changing all legacy faces. Let's vote for good independent candidates.
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Pakistani1 Sep 15, 2023 06:20pm
The parting gifts of a departing CJP. Agree with accountability but for all, including judges of SCP.
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TidBit Sep 15, 2023 07:08pm
Now what? Will NS postpone his trip? He would be arrested upon landing!
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Engr Haroon Rasheed Sep 15, 2023 07:39pm
Salute to SC. The NAB amendments were aimed to help corrupt and looters not to be accountable for country money. The SC decision will bring them under the justice.
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Love Your Country Sep 15, 2023 08:20pm
The Bench sat on the judgement for 10 days says a lot for the CJP.
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Haider Sep 16, 2023 06:22am
Remarkable Judgement , must be implemented without any further delay and accused must be punished repidly coz today Nation facing accute financial Crisis due to these Cartels ,Mafias who not only Highjacked Basic function of the Institutions also destroy the legal Assets of the Poor Nation,today Hunger spreading everywhere and these Cartels,Looters enjoying in UK,Dubai,Europe,United State with their families,Now it's enough Nation will show his power against these Cartels monopolies in up coming days.
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Khalid Bukhari Sep 16, 2023 12:44pm
The background and inception of NAB is purpose oriented. This institute has always been used as a political tool handled by different powers to curb or blackmail political rivals. Honorable Supreme Court ignored this aspect. NAB is inefficient, burden on public exchequer, wastage of time and wastage of resources.
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