SC allows Imran to argue in NAB amendments case

Sohail Khan
Wednesday, May 15, 2024

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Tuesday allowed former prime minister and PTI founder chairman Imran Khan to appear in-person before it and argue in the NAB amendment case.

The federal and Punjab governments have also been directed to make video link arrangements for Imran to present his arguments.

A five-member bench of the apex court — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa — heard the Intra Court Appeals (ICAs) filed by the federal government and another petitioner against its judgment delivered in 2023, striking down some of the amendments made by the former PDM government to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 and others.

The other members of the bench were Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi.

Except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the court issued notices to the advocate generals for Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, as well as Advocate General Islamabad, after they also supported the ICA of the federal government.

Similarly, additional prosecutor general NAB has also supported the federal government’s ICA, while Farooq H Naek, counsel for another petitioner, also adopted the arguments of Makhdoom Ali Khan, counsel for the federal government.

The court also issued a notice to Khwaja Haris Advocate who had earlier represented Imran Khan in his petition filed last year, challenging the amendments made to the NAO Ordinance for May 16. The court also incorporated in its order the formulations presented by Makhdoom Ali Khan, counsel for the federal government.

Similarly, Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan also supported the appeals.

The court in its order noted that the respondent (Imran Khan) in Intra Court Appeals No. 2 and 3 of 2023 and respondent No. 3 in Intra Court Appeal No. 4 of 2023 was presently confined in the Central Jail, Rawalpindi, and was sent a certified copy of the order dated 31 October 2023 of this court and the paper-books of the appeals.

“Our order had permitted Mr. Niazi to be represented by counsel but he has written saying that he wants to represent himself. Therefore, the federal government and the Government of Punjab are directed to make arrangements to ensure that Mr. Niazi is able to hear the court proceedings and is able to address this court with regard to the appeals through video-link on the next date of hearing. Intra Court Appeal No. 2/2023 etc,” the court noted in its order.

The court noted that in the constitution petition No21 of 2022, filed by Mr. Niazi, he was represented by seven counsel, including senior counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed. Therefore, it would be appropriate to issue notice to the learned Khawaja Haris Ahmed to assist this court, as he had already conducted the case wherefrom these appeals arise.

“In case learned senior counsel expects to be paid for services he should submit his bill, and this Court will attend to the same,” the court noted in its order

The court, however, clarified that it does not mean that Mr. Niazi will not be allowed to address the court to rebut the submissions of the learned counsel representing the appellants.

Makhdoom Ali Khan formulated his contentions, which were adopted by senior counsel Farooq H. Naek, Attorney General for Pakistan and advocate-generals of the three provinces and of Islamabad Capital Territory, except that of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who supports the majority judgment.

The court ordered that a copy of the order be sent to Khawaja Haris Ahmed and Mr. Niazi to help them formulate their responses to the aforesaid submissions.

The court directed the NAB to provide the following information for the last ten years: (a) The number of cases it investigated; (b) The number of prosecutions which were successful, and convictions sustained by the High Court and the Supreme Court; Intra Court Appeal No. 2/2023 etc. 6 (c) The amounts recovered; (d) Where was the amount deposited, and whether any portion was retained by NAB and if so the quantum thereof; and (e) The amount spent on NAB. 7.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing until May 16 at 11:30 am.