ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday suspended a notification of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to constitute a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to carry out investigations against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Syed Khurshid Shah.

A Division Bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Ghulam Azam Qambrani conducted hearing of the petition filed by Shah currently confined in sub-jail in Sukkur and also issued notices to the NAB directing it to submit its reply within 10 days in this matter.

Khurshid moved the petition through his counsel Mian Raza Rabbani Advocate and cited Chairman NAB and head of JIT as respondents.

He stated that the petition challenges the validity, propriety, legality and reasonableness of NAB notification dated January 2, 2020 through which Chairman NAB has constituted a JIT to carry out investigation against the petitioner purportedly in exercise of power conferred under the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999.

He added that the instant petition sought a declaration that the impugned notification was notified mala fide, discriminately and ulra vires to the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

The petitioner argued that the notification did not state the provision of the NAO, 1999 or that of any other law, under which the NAB Chairman had purportedly exercised power for the formation of the JIT.

He contended, “The impugned notification, does not state the Terms of Reference nor does it specify the exact subject matter of the investigation, into which the JIT is to enquire against the petitioner.”

According to the petition, “The investigation against the petitioner was completed and a Reference was sent to the Respondent No 1 for betting and finalization, as per the application filed under section 344 Cr.P.C by the Special Prosecutor NAB on December 17, 2019.”

He maintained that while issuing the impugned notification, the respondent No 1 has not acted in accordance with law and the principles enunciated by the superior courts but has exercised his authority in a fanciful and capricious manner.

Therefore, the PPP leader prayed to the court to declare that the said notification was notified mala fidely, arbitrarily and in excessive exercise of power by the Chairman NAB therefore, is void ab-initio having no legal effect in the eye of law.

He also requested that the court may declare that the action of NAB chairman of formation of JIT and issuance of the impugned notification are actions based on malice hence liable to be struck down. The petitioner added that the court may declare the actions of the head of JIT of harassing and mentally torturing persons, who appear before him is in violation of the fundamental rights as provided in the Constitution.