SHC expresses displeasure with NAB prosecutors’ performance

CJ says prosecutors are never prepared for any case and seek time


Our Correspondent April 06, 2019
PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has once again expressed its annoyance over the performance of the prosecutors of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) who, in most of the cases, always seek time to get themselves prepared on the facts of the case.

A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh and comprising Justice Omar Sial expressed this dissatisfaction while hearing pleas about NAB inquiries against Akhter Parvez Jamali and others.

The bench adjourned the hearing of the case as the NAB prosecutors sought time to go through the cases.

As the proceedings began, the Chief Justice asked the NAB's prosecutor, if he was ready to proceed with the case? NAB's prosecutor Khalid Awan said that he was not prepared for this case therefore time should be granted to prepare the arguments. "Why do you appear in the court when you aren't prepared for the case?" remarked the court. "What is your progress? You request for time every time," he added.

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The bench said that there were five prosecutors of the NAB but none of them was willing to proceed with the cases. The chief justice asked the prosecutor-general if he had seen the progress of NAB's prosecutors? He remarked that all the five prosecutors are present here but there is no progress in cases. The prosecutor-general replied, "Yes sir I have observed it, but it won't happen again." While adjourning the hearing, the bench directed to send a copy of the order of the day's proceedings (Friday) to the chairman of NAB.

Protective bail

The same bench on Friday approved the protective bail of Gulzar Ahmed, supposed to be a front man of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani for 10 days against a surety of Rs 0.2m.

The law office of immigration, Mirza Tanveer Beg, told the court that Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had no objection over the protective bail to the accused.

"The name of the accused has already been placed on the exit control list (ECL)," the law officer said. Adnan Memon, the counsel of the accused, told the court that his client wanted to appear before the court after coming to Pakistan.

He argued that Gulzar Ahmed was in the United States, while he had come to know of the investigation against Durrani and his name in the investigation through the news, he wanted to come back to Pakistan, but had reservations that he would be arrested on arrival. He pleaded the court that his client's protective bail be accepted in his absence after which the court approved the protective bail of Gulzar.

Advocate warned

Another bench of the SHC comprising Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto and Justice KK Agha gave last warning to Advocate Mehmood Alam Rizvi who is the counsel of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM) leader Amir Khan to give arguments over a plea filed against the sentence awarded to him.

Advocate Mehmood Alam Rizvi informed the court that Amir Khan had gone to Islamabad to attend the inauguration ceremony of Hyderabad University but couldn't return. Court sought arguments from the counsels of Amir Khan on May 15. Court remarked that the appeal filed against the sentence awarded to Amir Khan was pending since 2003. Court gave extension to the counsels of Amir Khan for the last time to give arguments.

Amir Khan and others have been accused of the murder of an MQM worker Anum Aziz. Amir Khan was the general secretary of MQM Haqiqi at the time of murder. The trial court had awarded Amir Khan 10 years imprisonment, who had subsequently challenged the verdict in the SHC and acquired bail from the court. The co-accused Nazim Kala's sentence has been annulled and the case has been referred back to the trial court for re-hearing.

Acquitted

The same bench, while announcing a verdict reserved earlier on the appeal filed against the sentence awarded to Wali Muhammad, ordered to acquit him while annulling the verdict passed by trial court.

The special anti-terrorism court awarded death sentence to Wali Muhammad. According to the prosecutor, the accused had kidnapped Irfan and Bashir in 2013. The accused released both kidnapped persons in a forest in Jamshoro without collecting the ransom money due to the death of Pir Pagara. The court appointed former judge Hassan Feroze to represent the accused because he couldn't afford a lawyer himself.

The defence lawyer argued that it was a false case. The police had filed a report about Wali Muhammad being missing two months before he was arrested. According to Advocate Hassan Feroze the petitioners filed the case after 51 days and the statements given by witnesses contradict each other.

Iqama case

Another two-member-bench, comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Agha Faisal, sought arguments on Friday from the counsel of former home minister Sohail Anwer Sial in the case pertaining to the possession of Iqamah against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Faryal Talpur, Manzoor Wassan, Nasir Hussain, Sohail Anwar Sial and others on April 19.

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Advocate Haq Nawaz Talpur said in his arguments that Manzoor Wassan omitted the details of 25% shares of a company in Dubai and his Iqamah in the nomination papers of 2013 general elections. The public representatives who are involved in corruption should not be allowed to go free, argued the lawyer, adding that the current situation of the country was due to corruption by these elected representatives. "The people who tell lies to the public and commit corruption don't deserve any concession," he said.

Advocate Khuwaja Shams-ul-Islam argued that a year has passed but Farooq H. Naik is not giving arguments over the plea against Sohail Anwer Sial. Farooq H. Naik is using delaying tactics. Court ordered the junior lawyer to tell Farooq H Naik to appear in the court on the next hearing and complete the arguments. Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar remarked that they wanted to pass the order after hearing all the pleas. Court sought arguments from the counsel of former home minister Sohail Anwer Sial on April 19.

Bail extended

The SHC on Friday extended the pre-arrest bail of ex-federal minister Aijaz Jakhrani in a case pertaining to NAB inquiry into the accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income.

''There are many inquires being carried out against the accused,'' the prosecutor informed the court

He said that accused had a car which had been paid for from a fake account. NAB prosecutor further infomed the court that the accused was also involved in fake accounts case and an investigation was also being conducted in this regard.  Jakhrani stated before the court that the NAB had accused him of making assets beyond known sources of income. ''I will provide required documents and information to NAB,'' MNA assured the court.

The court directed the NAB officials to complete the inquiry within a month and adjourned the hearing till May 4.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2019.

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