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NAB amendments case: Imran appears in SC via video link

Imran Khan is wearing a sea-green colored shirt



NAB amendments case: Imran appears in SC via video link
NAB amendments case: Imran appears in SC via video link

Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan Thursday appeared in the Supreme Court through a video link in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) amendments case.

A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa is hearing the government's appeals against the nullification of NAB amendments. Justice Aminuddin, Justice Jamal Mandukhel, Justice Athar Minullah and Justice Hassan Azhar Rizvi are part of the bench. While Senator Faisal Javed and lawyer Naeem Panjotha have also reached the Supreme Court.

The hearing of the Supreme Court is not aired live. Imran Khan is wearing a sea-green colored shirt.

Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa called the Attorney General to the rostrum. At the beginning of the hearing, the Chief Justice asked the Attorney General if the video link has been established? On this, the Attorney General replied that yes video link has been established.

Lawyer Khawaja Haris also came to the rostrum. Speaking to Khawaja Haris, the Chief Justice said that you were the lawyer in the original case, there was disappointment in your non-appearance, we would also like to hear your stand.

Makhdoom Ali Khan, the lawyer of the federal government, started the arguments.

Later, federal government lawyer Makhdoom Ali said that the matter of NAB amendments is pending in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

On this occasion, Justice Qazi Faez Isa stated that Makhdoom Ali Khan should give his arguments in a loud voice so that PTI founder Imran Khan who is on the video link can also hear him.

Justice Athar Minullah inquired whether the petition pending in the High Court was approved for hearing. On which the lawyer of the federal government said that it was declared admissible.

The Chief Justice added that the complete record of the case against the NAB amendments should be obtained from the IHC.

Qazi Faez asked Khawaja Haris whether he would advocate in this case. To which he replied that yes, he will assist the court.

Later, the court called for the order of the hearing held in the Islamabad High Court on the NAB amendment case.

During the case, the Chief Justice asked the lawyer Khawaja Haris whether he submitted the fee bill as a lawyer. To this, he replied that he does not want a fee.

Government lawyer continued the arguments that the first hearing against the NAB amendments was held on July 2022. Justice Athar Minullah inquired how many hearings were held in total. Advocate Federal Government said that a total of 53 hearings were held.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan asked why the case continued for such a long time. Did you prolong the case?

Lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan replied yes, the petitioner took more time in arguments. Justice Jamal Mandukhel added that how much time was taken to make the NAB law in 1999? On this, the Attorney General replied that immediately after martial law, NAB law was imposed within one month.

It is really surprising that NAB amendments case was conducted for 53 hearings, said CJP Qazi.

The Chief Justice further inquired as to how this case could be heard in the Supreme Court while being heard in the High Court. Did the court answer this question in the judgment of the main case? Makhdoom Ali Khan replied that yes, the court had mentioned this issue in the verdict.

Later, Makhdoom Ali Khan read the relevant paragraph of the Supreme Court decision in the court.

Imran Khan complained

During the hearing, Imran Khan called the police officers who were present there and complained about the bright light falling on his face, after which, the officers adjusted the light.

On the other hand, after Imran Khan's photo went viral on social media, the Supreme Court administration started an investigation. According to police, the police administration staff were instructed to identify the person who made the picture viral by looking at the CCTV camera and they will take action against the one who made it viral. The photo was taken in violation of courtroom rules, the video of Imran Khan was shortened in the court.

Meanwhile, during the hearing, Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa said, "Can the Chief Justice remove any judge from the bench?" Justice Athar remarked that the seven-member bench said that elections should be held in both 90 constituencies but they did not take place, on which Justice Qazi said that the three-member bench headed by him decided to hold elections in only 12 constituencies. We gave an order of the court in the practice and procedure case, there was also an order of the court for the 21st amendment.

Meanwhile, a lawyer came to the rostrum and said that the proceedings were not being telecasted live, the Chief Justice remarked that you should sit down as the arguments are going on, the lawyer said that we just wanted to bring it to your notice.

Then Justice Athar Minullah added that a lot of water has passed under the bridge, was it right or wrong to suspend the practice and procedure, but anyway it was suspended by the order of this court. The committee did not exist due to the suspension of the act.

Federal government lawyer Makhdoom Ali said that one of the members of the bench, Mansoor Ali Shah, gave an opinion that the NAB case should not be proceeded with without fixing the practice and procedure.

Chief Justice Qazi remarked that if the law is not correct, then declare it null and void. If the laws continue to be suspended in this way, how will the country develop, if you do not like the law, hear the whole case and nullify it.

Justice Jamal Mandukhel said that suspending a bill is not suspending the proceedings of Parliament. The Chief Justice further said that why not suspend the Parliament like this? Whether we break the law or break the military is the same thing, how long are we going to make ourselves crazy?

Justice Qazi Faez Isa further added that if I don't like a law, I should suspend it, is this honesty? Will we ever be able to move forward as a country? If you used to suspend a law and then hear the case daily and decide, isn't it exploitation by suspending the law and making a bench against it and hearing other cases?

On this occasion, Makhdoom Ali Khan said that you as the most senior judge had raised this point, the Chief Justice remarked that you should leave it, don't you have your own point of view?

Justice Athar Minullah further said that the appeal can be filed by the affected party and it can be any person, how is the government the affected party in this case? An appeal under Practice and Procedure shall be brought only by the aggrieved person.

Justice Jamal Mandukhel said that the law says that not only the affected person but also the affected party can bring it. Members of the government bench can also come, if this happens then 150 petitioners will stand before us. Justice Athar said that the legislators have written the words of the aggrieved party.

The Chief Justice further remarked that if a case comes to the court, it should be heard and decided on a daily basis, suspending the law is also tampering with the system.

Justice Jamal Mandukhel said that it would have been better if we had gone on the merits.

On this, Justice Athar Minullah said that the affected person can appeal under clause two of the Practice and Procedure Act, how is the government an affected person.

Chief Justice Qazi Faez said that if the Supreme Court declares the Customs Act void, the government cannot appeal? Government lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan argued that of course the government can appeal.

During the hearing, the PTI founder kept talking to the person sitting with him.

Later, Makhdoom Ali Khan continued his speech and said that the amendments of 2023 were also made on the follow-up of NAB Rules 2022, the court declared the amendments of 2022 null and void.

Chief Justice of Pakistan remarked that you are raising a technical objection? Lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan said that this technical objection also exists. Chief Justice stated that we will get answers from Imran Khan on these questions, founder PTI should take note of these points.

The Chief Justice smiled with the remarks, Imran Khan put his hand on his mouth and smiled after seeing the smile of the Chief Justice.

Makhdoom Ali Khan, the lawyer of the federal government, continued this point and said that Imran Khan could have changed the law but he brought the ordinance, the issue of NAB amendments was a parliamentary dispute which was brought to the Supreme Court.

On the same occasion, the court stopped lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan from using such words.

Justice Jamal Mandukhel remarked that can a party member vote against his party's decision on a bill?

The Chief Justice said that if you want to bring ordinances, then close the parliament. Through ordinances, you impose the will of one person on the entire nation. Isn't doing this against democracy? Shouldn't the president write detailed reasons with the ordinance?

Justice Athar Minullah added that strengthening the parliament is the work of politicians.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period and directed Imran Khan to appear on video link in the next hearing as well.

It is pertinent to note that the Supreme Court bench headed by former Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial had accepted the petition of Imran Khan and declared the NAB amendments invalid. The federal government filed an appeal against this decision under the Practice and Procedure Act. The first hearing was held in October last year and the second hearing was held two days ago.

Notably, at the last hearing, the Supreme Court accepted the request of PTI founder Imran Khan to present his arguments on intra-court appeals against the annulment of the NAB amendments. The Apex Court allowed founder PTI to give arguments via video link.

During the hearing, the letter of former Prime Minister Imran was presented in the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa said that according to the letter, PTI founder wants to appear in a personal capacity. Justice Jamal Mandukhel stated that he has to decide whether he wants to appear himself or will be represented by a lawyer. Justice Athar Minullah remarked that if he wants to appear in a personal capacity, how can he be stopped.

The Chief Justice remarked that this matter is not about personal rights but about amendments in the law. If it was a personal matter, he would definitely have appeared. How can a common man assist the court? If the appearance in the court is to be used for any other purpose, it will be examined.