ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday reprimanded the

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for producing a list of allotment of houses to the judges terming it “confidential” and directed the Bureau to explain why proceedings may not be initiated against the person responsible for, prima facie, attempting to prejudice the pending proceedings.

A Division Bench of the IHC comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan made this observation in its written order issued after conducting hearing the bail petition of former Federal Housing Minister Akram Khan Durrani against the NAB inquiry for illegal allotment, illegal appointment, four armored vehicles and assets beyond his income.

In its written order, Justice Athar noted, “Today two sets of written report were submitted by the National Accountability Bureau in a sealed envelope and stamped as “Confidential”. It has been alleged in the report that the petitioner had misused his authority by allotting official accommodations to Judges of the District Court Islamabad and officials/staff of this Court as well as the Supreme Court of Pakistan. It has also been mentioned in the report that allotments were made to Judges of this Court under Rule 6 (7) of the Accommodation Allocation Rules, 2002.”

The court order said that the learned Deputy Prosecutor General of the Bureau and the Investigating Officer were asked whether allotments made to Judges of this Court were illegal but they have unequivocally stated that the allotments were legal and made under Rule 6 (7) of the Rules of 2002. They could not give any explanation for including the names of Judges of this Court in the list attached with the report if the allotments were as per their entitlement and in accordance with Rule 6 (7) of the Rules of 2002.

“The Investigating Officer was asked why he seeks arrest of the petitioner when it has been stated in the report that the out of turn allotments made to Judges of the subordinate judiciary and staff/officials of this Court and the Supreme Court were made pursuant to a meeting held in this Court in August 2014?

He had no plausible explanation to give in this regard. The learned Deputy Prosecutor General and the Investigating Officer failed to give any reason for keeping the report confidential. It raises serious questions regarding attempts to prejudice the pending proceedings by submitting a report, which the Investigating Officer failed to explain.” it added.

Justice Athar said, “It is noted that we have consistently observed that no person or institution is above the law. We, as Judges of the Superior Courts ought to be held accountable but any scandalisation of the Court with the object of prejudicing pending proceedings cannot be tolerated. The written report asserts that allotments were made pursuant to a meeting held in this Court on 25.08.2014. If that was the case then how arrest of the petitioner would be justified.”

He added, “The Bureau is directed to submit a detailed report along with complete record including the minutes of the meeting stated to have been held on 25.08.2014. The Bureau shall also explain why proceedings may not be initiated against the person responsible for, prima facie, attempting to prejudicing the pending proceedings.”

The bench further said that as already noted, this Court has no hesitation in making the report public because it is for the Bureau to justify its contents. We, therefore, direct the report to be made part of the record and copies provided to the learned counsel for the petitioner.

Later, the IHC bench deferred the hearing in this matter till April 8 for further proceedings.