The Supreme Court has asked NAB to take into custody documents relating to the $60 million money laundering case which the government had withdrawn from Swiss courts. -Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD The Supreme Court asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday to “stop playing hide and seek” about immunity status of President Asif Ali Zardari and take into custody documents relating to the $60 million money laundering case which the government had withdrawn from Swiss courts.

“For how long will this hide and seek continue,” asked Justice Javed Iqbal who heads a three-judge bench hearing the Bankers City Housing Society fraud case. He asked the bureau to submit in writing if someone enjoyed protection under the Constitution.

He said that only the court had the authority to interpret the Constitution, adding “Neither the NRO judgment is person-specific nor the court is interested in personalities.”

The court also referred to media reports about the possibility of documents having been tampered with, evidences damaged and old record replaced and ordered NAB to protect the documents by taking these into its custody.

The observations were made when NAB in its report submitted that its efforts to open the Swiss cases were being hampered because the records relating to the money laundering case had gone missing during the tenure of former president Gen Pervez Musharraf.

The court asked NAB to implement the Dec 16, 2009, verdict on the National Reconciliation Ordinance without any hitch and take measures to protect all NRO-related record.

NAB's acting chairman Irfan Nadeem told the court that the bureau had written a letter to the law ministry seeking instructions for reviving the corruption cases since the president enjoyed immunity under Article 248 of the Constitution. The ministry in turn referred the matter to the Attorney General's office and its reply was still awaited, the court was told.

Justice Tariq Parvez observed that the court was not interested in individuals and directed NAB to recover the missing record.

“The apex court has the power to get its order implemented,” Justice Iqbal observed, and referred to Article 189 which obligated all state institutions to implement the court's decision and Article 190 through which the court could seek institutions' help for the purpose.

The court also made it clear that it would not allow the bureau to delay the matter and called for particulars of newly-appointed NAB prosecutors.

The court also said the NAB chairman should have quit his office under the NRO decision, but deplored that it had not happened.

On Feb 19, the apex court had upbraided NAB for sitting over its order to reopen the Swiss cases and warned NAB chairman Nawid Ahsan of coercive measures, including attachment of his salary as well as restricting NAB representatives from appearing before court, unless the Dec 16 verdict was complied with.

The court adjourned the hearing for two weeks on the request of NAB's acting chairman.

Opinion

Pak-Saudi relations
Updated 17 May 2021

Pak-Saudi relations

Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, will be key to Pakistan’s economic recovery in a post-Covid context.
Cuisine and culture
17 May 2021

Cuisine and culture

There is a drive towards the creation of a ‘national cuisine’ landscape as well as greater insight into region-based diversity.
Cooperation or conflict?
Updated 17 May 2021

Cooperation or conflict?

The fear of an economic and technological rival has created insecurities being reflected today in US behaviour.

Editorial

Palestine bloodbath
Updated 17 May 2021

Palestine bloodbath

One wonders whether the right of self-defence allows a country to butcher toddlers and the disabled, as Tel Aviv has done in Gaza.
17 May 2021

Registering madressahs

DURING the past two decades, several attempts by successive governments to standardise and regularise madressahs ...
17 May 2021

LSM growth

THE robust growth in large-scale industrial output since July last year has generated a kind of economic optimism...
16 May 2021

Riyadh-Tehran thaw

SEVERAL official pronouncements over the last few days have confirmed that efforts are underway behind the scenes to...
16 May 2021

Ruthless evictions

FOR a state to deprive residents of their homes without providing for alternative housing for them is a dereliction...
16 May 2021

Wheat concerns

THE new official projections for provisional wheat output suggest that Punjab may harvest around 20.5m tonnes of...