The Sindh High Court summoned on Monday Sukkur National Accountability Bureau (NAB) director over the bail plea of Pakistan Peoples Party leader Khursheed Shah in an 'assets beyond means' reference.
A two-member bench, comprising Justice Amjad Ali Sahito and Justice Shamsuddin Abbasi, was hearing the plea.
At the outset of the hearing, Khursheed's counsel, Advocate Makhdoom Ali Khan contended that his client has been imprisoned for a long period without any evidence against him while only three out of 44 witnesses have recorded their statements so far.
He apprised that 18 out of 44 witnesses are accused in the reference.
The number of accused and witnesses tells that the trial will be a prolonged one, said Advocate Makhdoom.
He apprised that the inquiry was started on August 7, 2019, and was given the status of an investigation on December 13, 2019.
Claiming that 16 hearings have already been conducted in the case, the counsel contended that keeping Khursheed imprisoned for a long time before conviction was unfair. The court inquired from NAB prosecutor what evidence was presented to prove the allegations against Khursheed in two years. At this, the NAB prosecutor maintained that he received the file just a day before so the investigation officer could give a better explanation on this.
What has NAB been doing during its functioning for 23 years in Sindh when the corruption has only increased instead of being controlled, the court observed.
"How many months will NAB need to complete the inquiry," asked Justice Sahito.
At this, the NAB prosecutor replied that the inquiry has to be completed within four months under the NAB rules.
The court inquired that if the rules had been framed or not.
Read more: SHC issues notices to NAB in Durrani case
Responding to the court's query, NAB prosecutor maintained that the rules hadn't been framed as yet.
The court observed that NAB hasn't been able to frame the rules even in 23 years.
On the court's inquiry about how long did this inquiry take to be completed, the prosecutor maintained that since he will be able to give a reply after preparation, reiterating that he received the file just recently. Irked at the prosecutor's reply, the court warned that NAB director general would be summoned if they requested the adjournment of the hearing.
At this, the NAB prosecutor pleaded to summon the concerned NAB director. Accepting the prosecutor's request, the court summoned Sukkur NAB director on the next hearing on July 12.
CM's ineligibility case
Another bench, comprising Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddiqi and Justice Agha Faisal, sought arguments over the maintainability of Sindh Assembly Opposition Leader Haleem Adil Sheikh's plea seeking to declare Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah ineligible.
Haleem has sought to declare Sindh CM Shah ineligible under the Article 62 and 63 of the constitution, maintaining in the plea that the Supreme Court had declared Shah ineligible in 2013 for hiding dual nationality.
Despite the judicial order, Shah contested and won in the by-election, the plea stated.
At the outset of the hearing, Justice Siddiqi remarked that the Supreme Court had recently disposed of the case by issuing a verdict in regard with the ineligibility of Sindh CM Shah.
The court sought the copy of apex court's verdict, directing Haleem's counsel to satisfy the court with arguments over their plea's maintainability, and rejected the request for issuing notices to parties. The hearing was adjourned for an indefinite period.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2021.
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