SC begins hearing appeals challenging NAB law amendments

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DNA

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Thursday is hearing intra-court appeals against the annulment of the the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law amendments.

The appeals are being heard by a five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Aminuddin, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi.

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

During the last hearing, SC had asked lawyer Khawaja Haris to meet his client, the PTI founder, in the jail.

It should be noted that Khan had challenged the NAB law amendments.

A three-member SC bench had declared NAB law amendments null and void on Khan’s plea. The federal government has also filed intra-court appeals against the decision of the three-member bench.

What is NAB amendments case?

A three-member bench of the SC, in September 2023, had approved former prime minister Khan’s petition challenging amendments made to the country’s accountability laws during the tenure of the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government.

Headed by then-chief justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, the court held more than 50 hearings and in its majority 2-1 verdict restored graft cases against public office holders that were closed down following the amendments.

The apex court ordered restoring all graft cases worth less than Rs500 million that were closed down against the political leaders belonging to different political parties and public office holders and declared the amendments void.

The verdict provisions far-reaching consequences as the striking down of the amendments would mean that references against some of the country’s political bigwigs will once again land in the accountability courts.

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 another ex-premier Raja Pervez Ashraf.

Following the verdict, the federal government filed an appeal against the apex court order.