LAHORE: An accountability court on Saturday dismissed a petition seeking a direction to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file its investigation report and a reference against federal minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar on charges of accumulating illegal assets.
Ahsan Abid, a lawyer from Rahim Yar Khan, had filed the petition under section 17-C & 18-F of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999.
The petitioner’s counsel, Aftab Ahmad Bajwa, argued that the minister and his brothers owned six sugar mills, several investment companies and agricultural land beyond known sources of their income.
He said the NAB’s Multan office had conducted an initial inquiry in 2018 into the assets of the minister’s family and found these unexplained.
He pointed out that a regional board meeting on Dec 11, 2018 decided to forward the matter to the NAB headquarters with recommendation of a complete inquiry and further action in accordance with law.
The counsel argued that the NAB was bound to complete the inquiry and submit its report before the relevant accountability court. However, he alleged, the bureau had not submitted the report due to the pressure of the federal minister. He asked the court to issue an order to the NAB to submit an investigation report and a reference on the complaint of the petitioner.
Opposing the petitioner, NAB special prosecutor Asadullah Awan argued that the accountability court had no jurisdiction to order the bureau for filing a reference. He said the accountability court could not seek a report during investigation as its jurisdiction starts once a reference is filed before it. He asked the court to dismiss the petition.
After hearing arguments from both sides, Presiding Judge Sajjad Ahmad dismissed the petition for being not maintainable. The reasons for the dismissal of the petition would be given in a detailed order.
Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2021