The Supreme Court will on Monday take up identical petitions challenging the appointment of Justice (r) Deedar Hussain Shah as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman.
A three-member SC bench consisting of Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali will hear the petitions by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Nisar Ali Khan and Shahid Orakzai.
The petitioners named the federation through its Law and Establishment Division secretaries and Justice (r) Deedar Hussain Shah as respondents in the case. Nisar has prayed that Shah be restrained from performing duties as the NAB chairman with an immediate effect until a final adjudication of the petitions.
He contended that even the chief justice of Pakistan had not been consulted before the appointment. The opposition leader recalled that the Supreme Court, in its verdict of Asfandyar Wali vs the Federation of Pakistan, had held that the NAB chairman should be appointed by the president in consultation with the chief justice of Pakistan, that the NAB chairman would hold office for a period of three years and that the NAB chairman could be removed only on the grounds of removal of a judge of the Supreme Court.
He submitted that President Asif Ali Zardari had been disqualified from exercising any powers or performing any function with regards to the appointment of the NAB chairman, keeping in view the oath of his office whereby he had sworn not to allow his “personal interest” influence official conduct.
“Zardari who is accused in more than a dozen cases of corruption in and outside Pakistan has obvious conflict of interest in such an appointment,” Nisar contended, adding that the appointment of the NAB chairman by the president was tainted with personal motivation.
In his identical petition, Orakzai has questioned whether any retired judge of the Supreme Court could be called to the Service of Pakistan when he was over 70 years of age. He contends whether the incumbent president could exercise the powers given to the former military president by the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.
Orakzia submitted that the president, while appointing the NAB chairman, was fully aware that Shah had retired as a Supreme Court judge in December 2004, and was more than 70 years of age.