The Supreme Court (SC) set October 31 to hear the federal government’s intra-court appeal against the judgment in the National Accountability Ordinance (NAB) amendments case, it emerged on Saturday.
According to the cause list, the plea will be heard by a five-member larger bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, and comprising Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi.
On September 15, the SC in a majority decision had allowed former premier Imran Khan’s petition challenging amendments made to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 by the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) coalition government, and ordered the restoration of corruption cases against public office holders that were withdrawn following the tweaks
In October, a review petition by the federal government and Ministry of Law was filed that challenged the SC’s decision to declare amendments made to the NAO 1999 null and void. The petitioner, Abdul Jabbar, through his counsel Farooq H Naek, urged the court to set aside its verdict from September 15.
Earlier this month, another application for review was filed in the SC against its decision to declare the amendments made to the NAO null and void.
This plea was also filed by Advocate Farooq H Naek on behalf of former OGDCL managing director Basharat Mirza.
The application adopted the stance that the top court had announced the verdict against the National Accountability Court (NAB) amendments without hearing them.
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He claimed to be aggrieved by the court’s judgment, stating that he was not a party to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairperson Imran Khan’s constitutional petition challenging the amendments to the NAB law.
The petitioner particularly pointed to the minimum pecuniary threshold of NAB, which parliament had established at Rs500 million but had been reduced to Rs100 million under the apex court’s decision.
The review petition raises several legal and factual grounds for reconsideration by the court, including questioning whether the court’s verdict adhered to principles of natural justice, whether there was a breach of fundamental rights that required enforcement before the exercise of its original jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution in the constitutional petition.
On September 15, the apex court, with a majority of 2 to 1, had ordered the reopening of all corruption cases worth less than Rs500 million that were previously closed against political leaders from various parties and public officeholders. The court declared the amendments null and void.
Furthermore, the top court directed the NAB to return all case records to the relevant courts within seven days. The verdict also highlighted that the NAB amendments in question impacted the rights of the public as outlined in the Constitution.
The order, announced by the former chief justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial in his final session before retirement, stated, “By a majority of 2:1 (Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah dissenting), Constitution Petition No.21 of 2022 is allowed.”
The court has also invalidated the judgments issued by the accountability courts based on the amended laws.