Khudayar Mohla –
Declaring inquiry by anti-graft watchdog in billions of rupees fake bank accounts case as a statutory right of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed all review pleas by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leadership seeking formation of a larger bench to revisit the court’s earlier orders of setting up a joint investigation team to investigate the matter.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa dismissed the pleas filed by former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and others.
While raising objections over the joint investigation team formed by the apex court to probe fake bank accounts matter, Zardari’s counsel Sardar Latif Khosa questioned Supreme Court’s suo motu power saying Pakistan is not a common law country as its system is regulated by the codified law. Khosa further said that Supreme Court can give authority to the executive only under the codified law.
Responding to the argument, Chief Justice Khosa observed that the bottom line is that billions of rupees fake accounts have been unearthed, saying how it will be possible that everyone keep silent over the disclosure.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan categorically said that Article 190 empowers the apex court to seek aid of all executive and judicial authorities under which the matter has been forwarded to the National Accountability Bureau. While addressing Zardari’s counsel, Chief Justice Khosa said, “If nothing is discovered in result of NAB inquiry, no reference will be filed against your client.” Justice Ijazul Ahsan said if fake bank accounts have no link with Zardari, then it is the best time for him to get separated from the allegations by defending himself before the NAB.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan further said that Supreme Court had vested the inquiry to the NAB in the matter after Federal Investigation Agency submitted before the court that they were receiving threats whereas the departments concerned failed to provide information to the agency. He pointed out that the situation led the apex court to issue directives to Pakistan Rangers to protect the lives of investigators and witnesses in the matter.
Concluding his arguments, Sardar Latif Khosa urged the court to form a larger bench in order to revisit formation of JIT in the matter. To which Justice Ijazul Ahsan said, “Much water has gone under the bridge – the case was made out and matter was referred to National Accountability Bureau – if nothing is wrong, the NAB will exonerate Zardari in the matter.”
While addressing Zardari’s counsel, Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa repeatedly observed during the course of proceedings, “If this court has determined something in this matter then your client has right of appeal but in this case, there is no determination at all.”
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