LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau is not initiating new cases but has not fully suspended its functions either despite a Supreme Court order last month rendering the bureau non-functional after the federal government failed to appoint new NAB chief and accountability prosecutor general by July 21, the deadline set by the court for the purpose, Dawn learnt on Friday.
The bureau is still processing inquiries and conducting raids to arrest the suspects in spite of the apex court’s ruling that “NAB will become non-functional if the government fails to appoint its head and prosecutor general by July 21”.
Sources say the federal government, which instead of complying with the court’s order had sought more time to make the key appointments, has directed the NAB’s officials concerned to keep a ‘low profile’ till the issue is settled.
A senior NAB official confirmed to Dawn that the bureau was processing those inquiries that had been started before the court’s ruling. “We are not entertaining new applications,” he said.
In reply to a question about implementation of the SC’s order and pursuing of cases by NAB, the official said: “The quarters concerned have interpreted it as ‘no entertainment of new applications after July 21’.”
On June 21, a three-member SC bench while disposing of a petition by the Al Jehad Trust had given the federal government a month to fill the vacant posts of NAB chairman and accountability prosecutor general.
“If the government failed to fill both vacant posts in one month, the deputy chairman would automatically be barred from exercising the delegated powers of chairman and the bureau would become non-functional,” the bench had observed.
The government, however, informed the apex court on July 20 that it cannot appoint the new NAB chief till its review petition challenging the removal of former NAB head Justice (retd) Deedar Hussain Shah was decided.
On July 25, the court rejected the government’s plea and ordered that its June 21 judgment would prevail.
It may be mentioned that since the removal of Justice Shah about five months ago, voluntary returns, plea bargains and filing of any references at NAB have been affected.