ISLAMABAD: The government cannot appoint a new National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief until the Supreme Court decides the review plea seeking extension in deadline for the accountability bureau chief’s appointment, officials said.
Deputy Attorney-General KK Agha had filed a petition in the Supreme Court on behalf of the government in this regard. The NAB practically ceased to exist since the government failed to appoint the successor of its ousted chairman by July 21, a deadline set by a Supreme Court decision. Later, a government request for an extension in the deadline was also rejected by the apex court.
“The federation will wait till a Supreme Court ruling on its review plea, seeking more time for appointing a new NAB chief,” said an official of Ministry of Law and Justice.
“How can we proceed with the process of filling vacant top posts? The matter is pending before the court,” he said.
The law ministry has proposed some names of Justice (retd) Faqir Muhammad Khokar, former federal secretary Mehmood Saleem, Mehmood Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan and Justice (retd) Mukhtar Junejo for the top NAB post, he told The Express Tribune.
“Hopefully, (at least one of) these names will be acceptable to the PML-N leadership,” he said. The federation in its fresh plea stated: “The application for extension of time should be heard by a three-member judge bench rather than a single judge of the apex court in his chamber. Thus, in case of dismissal, the government has the right to go for review for reconsideration of the case.”
The federation also urged the apex court to extend the deadline for the appointment of a new NAB chief, justifying that the court was yet to rule on the review petition.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had given a month to the government for the appointment of Chairman NAB and the Prosecutor General. The deadline lapsed on July 22. “Early hearing of this plea is (needed) under the present circumstances,” he told The Express Tribune, adding, “The country’s top accountability watchdog is working without a chief for months.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2011.