Political bigwigs to face accountability as NAB submits records to court

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Former president Asif Ali Zardari, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PP Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani. — AFP/Files
Former president Asif Ali Zardari, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PP Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani. — AFP/Files

ISLAMABAD: In line with the Supreme Court’s order to restore graft cases against public office holders, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted a record of corruption references to an accountability court in Islamabad.

Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir directed the registrar of the court to review the cases’ records and present them before him.

The judge directed the NAB prosecutors to review the legal aspects of the cases as the nature of cases against private individuals, public office holders, and government employees is different.

The development came as NAB prosecutors Sohail Arif and Sardar Muzaffar appeared in the accountability court to brief the judge on the reopening of the cases.

“You [prosecutours] have to tell which case can be heard and which is not in a [court’s] jurisdiction, Judge Bashir stated.

NAB prosecutor Abbasi assured the judge that the anti-graft watchdog will ensure the implementation of the apex court order and submit all relevant records to the court.

On September 15, a three-member bench of the apex in a majority 2-1 verdict approved Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s petition challenging amendments made to the country’s accountability laws during the tenure of the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government.

The then-chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial-led bench ordered restoring all graft cases that were closed against the political leaders and public office holders and declared the amendments void.

In this regard, the anti-corruption watchdog wrote a letter to the registrar of an accountability court in the federal capital in line with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Last week, NAB Chairman Lt-Gen (retd) Nazir Ahmed Butt summoned a consultative meeting to formulate the future course of action.

The cases will be reopened against former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif, Yousuf Raza Gillani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Shehbaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former president Asif Ali Zardari, former chief ministers of Sindh, Punjab as well as dozens of former federal and provincial ministers, according to The News.

Sources said the fake accounts cases against Zardari and the rental power plants case against Ashraf have also been reopened. They added that the Toshakhana vehicles cases against Zardari, Nawaz and Gillani would also be investigated again.

Other politicians who would face cases include former chief minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, former finance minister Miftah Ismail and former finance minister Senator Ishaq Dar for amassing assets beyond known sources of income. 

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