ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor General Irfan Qadir remains defiant despite the prime minister's order to uphold the Supreme Court's decision to remove him.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has ordered the withdrawal of privileges to NAB Prosecutor General Irfan Qadir a day after his outburst in the Supreme Court that he will not step down.
The PM has said that Supreme Court orders will be implemented in letter and spirit and that he has issued orders to law secretary for implementation immediately.
Irfan Qadir continues with his duties despite the PM's order, and has said that NAB does not fall under the Law Ministry.
"I will not leave office until written orders are handed over," he said on Tuesday, asserting that he is only bound by orders issued by the President.
Updated from print edition (below)
Top NAB law officer defiant
A collision between the two top institutions – ‘the judiciary and the executive’–seems to be imminent as Prosecutor General (PG) National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Irfan Qadir says he will hold on to his office despite the fact that his appointment was declared ‘illegal’ by the apex court.
“President Asif Ali Zardari asked me to carry on his work and I will continue my job with full command,” Qadir told The Express Tribune. He added that it is not possible for him to leave the office until the presidency issues a notification of termination as the PG NAB.
On September 1, a three-member judge bench of the apex court declared the services of the NAB prosecutor general as “void ab intio” – a legal term used for unlawful act on grounds that his three-year contract had expired. The court also ruled that any extension in service would be against the rules, stating, “Mr Qadir must cease his official services.”
“I have not received any notification from any institution as yet,” he said. Qadir added that he held a meeting with NAB prosecutors assigning them different cases to accelerate the trial of the reopened NRO cases following the Supreme Court’s order.
“The president is my appointing authority and only he can de-notify the contract,” he said.
Advocate-General Punjab, Ahmad Harris Khawaja, said, “I believe any person who acknowledges Irfan Qadir as prosecutor general is in defiance of the Supreme Court order to cease him from office.”
He explained that the Section 8 clause (A) of the NAB Ordinance 1999 says that the PG shall hold office for a non-extendable period of three years, and Qadir had completed his period from 20003 to 2006.
Meanwhile, sources in the ministry of law told The Express Tribune that Law Secretary, Muhammad Masood Chishti, notified Law Minister Dr Babar Awan to remove Qadir. However, Awan said that, “I myself will take any decision pertaining to the issuance of any notice of the removal of PG NAB.”
Chishti said that the ministry has never issued any such notice to stop the PG NAB from holding his office. However, further action will be taken as the presidency has directed the ministry to regard the implementation of the court’s verdict, he explained.
Presidential spokesperson, Farhatullah Babar denied any direction on the part of the presidency. “Contrary to media reports the presidency has not asked him to continue his office. Mr Qadir has been ordered to be removed by the Supreme Court.”
Meanwhile, a top legal mind told The Express Tribune, on condition of anonymity, that Qadir’s statement is itself a contempt of court and “a mockery of the apex court’s order.”
The proceedings should be conducted under Article 204 of the Supreme Court which suggests rules for those who committed contempt of court, he explained.
Former law minister SM Zaffar feared that the government and the judiciary are once again are on the way to confrontation. “The government apparently has had a change of heart on the issue in the subsequent days and appears inclined to challenge the top court’s verdicts.”
Justice (Retd) Wajihuddin Ahmad also termed the decision of the presidency as another attempt to undermine the apex court. “There is no hindrance in the implementation of the superior courts’ verdicts. The Court must proceed against Qadir on charges of contempt.”
Earlier, Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq told The Express Tribune that due to quick changes in NAB officials, “the fate of NRO cases reopening hangs in balance.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2010.
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