A view of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad.—File Photo
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday gave one week time to the federation to appoint a full-time chairman of the country’s anti-corruption watchdog.
The position has been lying vacant since May 28 this year when the apex court sent former National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Admiral (Rtd.) Fasih Bokhari packing.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Jawad S Khawaja resumed hearing of the case, and maintained that sufficient and proper time had been given to the federation for the key appointment.
The chief justice remarked that the appointment of the NAB Chairman was a serious issue and the government was not taking it seriously.
During the course of proceedings, Prosecutor General NAB KK Agha informed the court that several references were pending due to the absence of a chairman and contracts of two prosecutors were not renewed for the same reason.
Attorney General Munir A Malik said that government wanted to appoint a well reputed and experienced individual as the anti-graft chief and for the purpose several names were under consideration.
He requested before the bench for more time to complete the process of appointment. By accepting the request, the case was adjourned until September 13.
Under the law, the federal government – led by the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) – has to appoint the NAB chairman through consultation with the leader of opposition in the National Assembly, .
Two former NAB chairmen – retired Justice Syed Deedar Hussain Shah and Admiral Bokhari – were removed by the Supreme Court on separate petitions filed by the-then leader of the opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
In his petitions he had maintained that no ‘meaningful’ consultation had taken place between him and the-then government of PPP before appointing the two chairmen.
Admiral Bokhari was removed on May 28 as his appointment on October 17, 2011 was declared illegal by the court, while Justice Shah served for five months, from October 19, 2010 to March 11, 2011.
Bokhari has filed a review plea against the decision for his removal and has moved the court to stop the process of appointment of a new chairman till his petition is decided.