Approaches court: Opposition leader mounts defence of NAB chief

Supreme Court accepts Khurshid Shah’s application to become party in the case.

Hasnaat Malik March 07, 2014
Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah. PHOTO: RIAZ AHMED


Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah moved an application in the Supreme Court to become party to the case against the appointment of the incumbent National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman.

Shah has objected to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan’s stance that the appointment of Qamar Zaman Chaudhry as NAB chairman is a result of collusion between the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, accepted Shah’s application and issued notices to all respondents including the PTI chief.

The bench is hearing the petition filed by Imran Khan through his counsel Hamid Khan on October 29, which contends that the NAB chairman’s appointment is illegal and without justification against the provision of Section 6 in NAB Ordinance 1999. The PTI chief has said the consultations over the appointment were ‘mala fide’.

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The opposition leader, in his application, stated that all opposition parties, including PTI, were consulted before the appointment was made despite no constitutional or legal requirement to do so.

He said due process was followed in the appointment of the chairman, adding that a series of consultations were held wherein the names of retired bureaucrats and judges of the superior courts were considered for the position. He reiterated that he participated in the consultation process as the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and not a PPP nominee.

However, all parties could not reach a consensus.

“The Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan directed the Federation to make the appointment by September 13, 2013,” the application states. “The Applicant always wanted meaningful and purposeful consultation in line with the law and the Supreme Court Judgments. The Applicant as Leader of the Opposition with all sincerity and fairness proposed names of well reputed and experienced individuals in this regard.”

During the hearing, Shah’s counsel Aitzaz Ahsan suggested that if Imran Khan is willing to withdraw his remarks against Shah, there would be no opposition to his petition against the NAB chairman.

However, the PTI chief’s counsel Hamid Khan did not accept the offer. He stated that the federation did not file its concise statement over the PTI chief’s petition.

The bench subsequently summoned the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP), but the AGP was not present in Islamabad.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2014.


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