Govt comes up with fresh excuse


As the deadline given by the Supreme Court (SC) to the government for the appointment of a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman and prosecutor general is set to expire tomorrow (Thursday), the government has decided to block the court orders by filing a separate plea, which according to legal experts would be just an attempt to delay implementation of the court’s orders.
A three-member SC bench headed by Justice Javed Iqbal, in its detailed judgement on June 21, had given one month to the government to fill the vacant posts of NAB’s chairman and prosecutor general. However, instead of appointing suitable candidates to both posts, the government has now decided to file an application in the apex court requesting it to decide the pending review petition against the verdict disqualifying Justice (r) Syed Deedar Hussain Shah as NAB chairman before the government initiates the process of appointing a new chairman for the bureau.
Former law minister Babar Awan conceded to reporters at the SC on Tuesday that the government would soon file a civil miscellaneous application (CMA) requesting the apex court to decide the pending review petition first before the government initiated the appointment process.
He contended that it was a judicial requirement that the pending review petition be decided first. He said the government would also request the court to allow NAB’s deputy chairman to appoint the prosecutor general.
He said the appointment of prosecutor general was made in consultation with the NAB chairman, while at present there was no chairman so the deputy chairman should be allowed to make the appointment. He said the court would also be requested to extend the time limit for the appointment.
He claimed that the government had implemented the court’s orders in letter and spirit after restoring the judges of the superior judiciary, adding that no government had ever in the past implemented the court’s order like the Pakistan People’s Party. “We never attacked the judiciary or any police station but faced cases, besides fighting against dictators with gallantry,” he said.
On the issue of the suspension of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General Zafar Qureshi, who was heading a team investigating the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam, Awan said Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had transferred him but nobody had taken any notice.
In its March 10 short order, the SC had declared the appointment of Justice (r) Shah as chairman NAB illegal and ultra-vires to the constitution and ordered him to relinquish the charge immediately.
In a detailed judgement on June 21, the apex court gave one month to the government to fill the vacant posts at the bureau. The court held that if the government failed to fill both posts within the given time, the NAB deputy chairman would automatically be barred from exercising delegated powers of the chairman, and in that case NAB would practically become dysfunctional.