IHC dismisses petition seeking to suspend court proceedings in Sharif's money laundering case

Published: May 19, 2018
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The Islamabad High Court. PHOTO: EXPRESS

The Islamabad High Court. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Saturday declared a petition ‘frivolous’ which had sought suspension of accountability court proceedings against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on account of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s order to hold an inquiry against him for the alleged transfer of $ 4.9billion to India

IHC’s Justice Athar Minallah stated that petitioner Shahid Orakzai’s petition had been found frivolous.

“The petitioner, by filing such petitions, may expose himself to imposition of exemplary costs,” Justice Minallah stated in the order.

In February, the Supreme Court had banned entry of the petitioner in the premises of the country’s top court.

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In the petition, Orakzai had pleaded to the court to instruct the accountability court to forthwith suspend proceedings against the deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif on grounds that NAB named him in the controversial PR issued on May 8.

He maintained that the impugned PR tended to damage the political standing of the former PM at a time when his party, which was still the majority party in the National Assembly and was gearing up for the next general election.

The petitioner said that PR informed the reader that the laundered amount in US dollars considerably strengthened the Indian treasury as it increased the Foreign Exchange Reserves of the State Bank of India.

In addition, it said, the illegal transfer of money inflicted a financial loss to Pakistan. “The catch-line, thus, is loyalty to India and disloyalty to Pakistan,” he stated in the petition.

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In the judgment, Justice Minallah noted that the petition was fixed as an objection case, petitioner appeared in person and claimed to be a public-spirited person.

“Frivolous and unwanted adjudication is discouraged, particularly when it involves political content,” Justice Minallah stated in the order.

“The present petitioner has not only utilized the time of functionaries of this court in processing his petition but has also taken the precious time which otherwise should have been availed by other bonafide litigants who anxiously await for the dispensation of justice,” Justice Minallah’s order read.

“Such frivolous litigation, besides exposing the institution of judiciary to unwarranted political controversies, at the same time infringes upon the fundamental rights of bonafide litigants and inevitably impedes their rights of access to justice,” he added.

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Justice Minallah stated in the order that the public spirit of the petitioner is not disputed but he is advised to raise his grievances having political content before other appropriate forums. While declaring it ‘frivolous’, Justice Minallah noted that despite his exuberance relating to matters of public importance, he could not satisfy the court regarding maintainability of the petition.

Subsequently, the judge also gave him a lecture about Article 199 of the Constitution, saying it is of extraordinary nature. He said that the Constitution has conferred the power on the high courts for enforcement of fundamental rights.

In addition, the judge said, the power includes issuance of orders, directions or writs of five kinds – habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition and quo warranto. “The jurisdiction being discretionary and extraordinary is exercised in grave cases rather than in routine,” Justice Minallah stated.

 

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