AG objects to NAB chief’s appointment

Published: June 19, 2010

New notification regarding appointment of investigation chief submitted in court.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court issued notices to the law secretary and two high-ranking National Accountability Bureau officials during the hearing of the Bank of Punjab case. The notices came in the wake of Punjab advocate general Khwaja Harris’ filing objections to the appointments of NAB acting chairman Javed Zia Qazi and NAB prosecutor general Irfan Qadir.

At the last hearing, Harris, who is also representing the Bank of Punjab in the case, raised objections to the appointment of an acting chairman for NAB, arguing that an acting chairman can only be  appointed when the chairman is unavailable. Since the post is vacant, Harris said, an acting chairman could not be appointed. Harris had also said that Qadir could not be appointed for a second term as prosecutor general since the NAB laws did not allow the same.

The three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had then directed Harris to submit his objections in writing, which he did on Friday.

Harris also told the bench that Qadir had been appointed to the position because of his ties with law minister Babar Awan. And that according to the statement of Sheikh Afzal, the primary suspect in the Rs9 billion BoP case, Qadir had pocketed large sums of Afzal’s money while pretending he was a tout for the judges disposed of the case in the SC at the time. Harris also voiced his fear that Qadir would abuse his position to subvert the outcome of the present case. Consequently, Chaudhry issued notices to law secretary Masood Chishti, Qazi and Qadir.

Earlier, Attorney General of Pakistan Maulvi Anwarul Haq submitted a copy of the new notification issued by the Establishment Division for the appointment of Punjab additional IG finance Aftab Sultan as chief investigator in the BoP scam and other cases. At the last hearing, the court had expressed its displeasure over the working of the last notification and had insisted the AGP get a fresh one, which reflected the court’s June 11 orders.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2010.

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