ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa on Tuesday said transaction through fake account is a big crime and a fake account cannot be opened without the involvement and collusion of bank officials.
The chief justice expressed these views while chairing a three-member bench that heard the appeal of a banker Muhammad Anwar regarding his conviction in fake accounts case.
The accused was sentenced to three years imprisonment by a trial court for opening fake bank accounts in various branches of the National Bank of Pakistan in Rawalpindi. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment by a trial court, with his punishment maintained by the high court.
Anwar’s lawyer argued that his client had already spent more than three years in prison due to the case that dates back to 1999.
“The trial court had sentenced Muhammad Anwar to three years in prison and imposed a fine of Rs0.8 million,” the lawyer said, adding that his client was given an eight-year sentence in another case which was reduced to three years on appeal.
Upon this, the top judge remarked that the issue of fake bank accounts was a major concern and the gravity of the issue called for a more stringent and severe punishment.
CJP Khosa noted that the account was opened with Rs0.1 million, in which the balance inexplicably grew to Rs0.9 million. “Bank accounts are not opened without verification process and a three-year sentence was quite less in the case,” he said.
The chief justice noted that the accused’s signatures were on all the account opening forms and he was involved in all the transactions.
Despite vigilance on part of bank officials, fake bank accounts continue to be opened using fake identity cards and fake documents, he said, adding that it had shaken the confidence of legitimate account holders and left them concerned.
Upon this, the accused Muhammad Anwar withdrew his appeal.
The CJP also urged the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to start preparations for filing appeals against verdicts of the high courts against pending appeals. “Over 100 appeals filed by the bureau are pending in the Supreme Court,” he noted.
The top court has asked the government to share its policy on power outages while hearing of the case pertaining to unannounced load-shedding.
A three-member bench, headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, heard the case. At the onset of the hearing, Justice Ijazul Ahsan inquired if the government had formulated any policy regarding unannounced power outages.
The attorney general replied that no such policy has been formulated and requested the court to grant time.
Instructing the government to submit any policy that has been formulated, the bench adjourned the hearing indefinitely.