ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor General Irfan Qadir on Monday said President Asif Ali Zardari appointed him and only he has the authority to remove him.
The Supreme Court had declared the appointment of the prosecutor general as unlawful.
Irfan Qadir said he does not need a notification for his re-appointment and would continue working.
A three-member Supreme Court bench declared the appointment of the acting chairman NAB Javed Qazi and Prosecutor General Irfan Qadir as “illegal and unlawful”.
The bench directed the government to appoint a new chairman within 30 days.
Meanwhile Presidential Spokesman Farhatullah Babar has said the presidency has issued no directive for Irfan Qadir.
Updated from print edition (below)
Govt ignores SC decree on prosecutor general
Despite clear-cut directions from the Supreme Court (SC) to remove the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) top prosecutor, the government seems to be unmoved by the decree as the official continues to hold the post, officials said.
“Yes, I am continuing to hold this office and will be working at the office today (Monday),” NAB prosecutor general Irfan Qadir told The Express Tribune here on Sunday.
The SC on Wednesday announced in a 62-page judgment that the appointment of the NAB prosecutor general was illegal. Likewise, the power assumed by NAB deputy chairman, Javed Zia Qazi, was also unlawful.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry directed Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq to ask the government to remove the NAB prosecutor general from his slot as early as possible.
The court gave the verdict on a petition filed by Punjab Advocate General Harris Ahmad Khawaja who, during the course of proceedings of the Bank of Punjab scam case, challenged the appointments of Qadir and Zia Qazi. The latter was working as NAB’s acting chairman as outgoing chairman of the bureau Nawid Ahsan quit earlier this year.
“The prosecutor general shall hold office for a non-extendable period of three years. He shall not be removed from the office except on the grounds of removal of the judge of the Supreme Court,” he justified while quoting clauses IV and V of section 8 of the NAB Ordinance 1999.
Under Article 5 of the Constitution the SC can only interpret the constitution, not change the laws, he said and added he might send a written plea to the Supreme Judicial Council regarding the judgment because only the President can remove the Prosecutor General from his slot.
Besides, Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq says: “The fate of all 248 cases of National Reconciliation Ordinance reopened after the SC verdict to declare NRO null and void hangs in the balance.”
“It is the duty of the NAB prosecutor general to assign different cases to prosecutors being tried in special courts of NAB,” he explained while replying to a query as to who will assist the prosecutors dealing with hundreds of cases in the special courts.
NAB vice chairman Javed Zia Qazi, when contacted by The Express Tribune, neither denied nor confirmed any development regarding implementation of the apex court’s order.
Ahmad Harris Khawaja told The Express Tribune that Irfan Qadir had completed his tenure of three years as NAB prosecutor general therefore he cannot be reappointed in the same capacity under the law.
He said that the section 8 clause (A) of the NAB Ordinance 1999 says: “The prosecutor general shall hold office for a non-extendable period of three years.” So, he had completed his period as the NAB prosecutor general from 2003 to 2006, he explained.
“The government’s stance to go for a review has no grounds,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2010.