ISLAMABAD: After the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) nullify the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law amendments, more than 2,000 graft cases, including those at the reference, complaint verification, inquiry, and investigation level, are expected to be reopened, some legal experts said on Saturday.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by outgoing Chief Justice Umar Bandia, with a 2-1 majority, struck down some of the amendments made to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 by the previous coalition government, declaring it against the rights pertaining to public interest enshrined in the Constitution.
Former prime minister Imran Khan had challenged the changes made to the accountability laws.
After the apex court ruling, a number of cases are expected to be ropened, including those against former president Asif Ali Zardari, six former prime ministers — Nawaz Sharif, Shaukat Aziz, Yousuf Raza Gillani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Shehbaz Sharif — and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.
Against Zardari, Nawaz and Gillani, the Toshakhana references will be reopened. Whereas, the LNG references were restored against Abbasi and the rental power reference against Ashraf. All these references had been transferred from the accountability court.
Of the 2000 cases restored, 755 cases were returned at the inquiry stage and 292 at the investigation stage, according to sources, which added that around 510 cases were of less than Rs500 million and 168 cases pertained to assets beyond known source of income.
Similarly, 213 cases stand restored as per Section 9A, while 89 cases are related to fraud.
The NAB is still awaiting the detailed judgment and its prosecution branch is busy compiling the data which would be submitted to the chairman after compilation.
The sources added the legal issue was that the NAB prosecution branch was headless following the resignation of Justice (retd) Syed Asghar Haider as prosecutor general accountability and so far his successor has not been named.
Furthermore, according to the sources, NAB Balochistan had already recommended to the NAB headquarters for the closing of an inquiry against Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar due to a lack of evidence a few months back.
It had sought formal approval for closing of the inquiry from the NAB headquarters, sources added.