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Will ending new NAB bill bring back old law? SC wonders

On Thursday, a Supreme Court judge expressed skepticism that the NAO could be restored to its pre-amendment form if the court overturned the recent changes to the accountability statute.

Imran Khan, head of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and a former prime minister, had petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the recent changes to the National Accountability Office (NAO), and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah was a member of the three-person panel that heard the case.

As part of his motion to modify the suit to challenge additional revisions to the NAO, Khawaja Haris also provided the court with a brief statement explaining the basis for contesting the amendments.

Justice Shah asked Mr. Khan’s senior counsel to provide precedent for the argument that the pre-amendment version of the accountability statute would be reinstated if the Supreme Court overturned the new modifications.

When senior counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan did not object on behalf of the federal government, the bench headed by President Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and also comprised of Justice Ijazul Ahsan approved the amended plea of the PTI chief for hearing. However, the attorney promised to submit a brief response to the new arguments in the petition.

The Chief Justice further noted that the petition wasn’t asking the court to reinstate the old statute, but rather to overturn it. Since one of the bench members was leaving to go to an academic conclave abroad, the case will be heard again on September 26.

Judge Bandial made light of the situation when he referred to the earlier brief statement filed by Makhdoom Ali Khan, saying that after reading it he saw the lawyer had kept his cards close to his breast and not divulged much. The CJP noted, however, that further information might be forthcoming once the federal government submitted its response to the modified petition.

At this point, the lawyer made a lighthearted reference to a Mirza Ghalib couplet: “Vo Alag bandh ke Rakha hai, jo maal acha hai.” (Only the best products have been stored separately.)

After reviewing the attorneys’ arguments, Justice Shah remarked that they seemed to be similar to the notion of policy that attempted to assure good quality education or good governance, but that these were not enforceable, but a wish list for helping the country.

In addition, Justice Shah requested that the attorney provide precedent for when the courts should step in to fill the hole in the law if a certain provision of legislation was found to be devoid of or in violation of fundamental rights.

According to Khawaja Haris, the people’s fundamental rights would be negatively impacted by the proposed changes to the NAO.

Mahnur Mehfooz
Written By

Mahnur is MS(development Studies)Student at NUST University, completed BS Hons in Eng Literature. Content Writer, Policy analyst, Climate Change specialist, Teacher, HR Recruiter.

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