LAHORE  -  The Supreme Court Monday strongly objected to a practice by the National Accountability Bureau regarding leakage of information about people’s appearance before it and their character-assassination by the media.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing a matter regarding excessive salaries of officers with public-sector companies at the Supreme Court Lahore Registry. Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan were other members of the bench.

“The NAB has no right to make fun of anyone,” the CJP remarked, while addressing NAB Prosecutor General Syed Asghar Haider. “How is information about summoning people leaked to the media even prior to their appearance before the bureau?” the bench raised a question and observed the proceedings of the anti-graft body were privileged in nature and could not be disclosed to the media.

“Such accountability could not be allowed,” the CJP remarked. He said proofs were there that the bureau treated people without evidence. Such treatment by the NAB would discourage the foreign investors coming here to invest money, the bench observed. “Are you forcing the foreign investors to leave this country?” the CJP questioned the NAB prosecutor. On it, he replied strict internal accountability had been started by the NAB chairman. He said some people from within the institution could be involved in such illegal practice, but the overall performance of the institution under chairmanship of Justice (r) Javed Iqbal was in accordance with the law.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan, the other member of the bench, however, observed the character-assassination of the people was being done at the level of investigating officers of the bureau. The CJP observed black sheep were inside the bureau, making it clear that strict action would be taken if any investigator was found guilty of exchanging information. He further said the NAB had respect in the courts now.

“Summoning one should be secret. What will be the respect of a person in the society if later he is found innocent in the inquiry?” the CJP further said, adding how a person could be declared guilty by the NAB before decision of his fate in the courts.

There was a consideration at the time of the appointment of the incumbent NAB chairman that a retired judge could save the anti-graft body from the wrath of the Supreme Court, the CJP observed.

The CJP summoned the NAB chairman in his chamber along with the prosecutor general on next Monday to discuss the issue.

In another case, Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) submitted admission policy in private medical colleges. Dr Muhammad Waseem Hassan Hashmi, the registrar of the council, submitted the policy before the bench along with a copy of the agreement between the council and the owners of private medical colleges.

According to the agreement, initially, the admissions would be made in public-sector medical colleges and in the second phase in private medical colleges. All the admissions would be made in both private and public sector institutions in the light of the central admission policy, the report said.

Meanwhile, in a petition of Seemal Kamran against Basharat Raja, the CJP said no mediation is possible between the parties and directed them to approach the relevant court for decision of their matter. Taking up the case of Seemal Kamran and Basharat Raja, the Supreme Court had given a family court three-month time to decide the matter.

 

CJP ON DAM BUILDING MISSION

 

INP adds: Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has accepted an invitation from the World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis to visit the United Kingdom and European countries to speak to the overseas Pakistanis to generate awareness on the crucial issue of water scarcity and building new dams for which funds could be raised from the expatriates.

The top judge was speaking to the Executive Director of World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis Arif Anis after delivering the landmark judgement on Friday through which the Supreme Court permitted Pakistanis residing abroad to cast vote in the upcoming by-polls.

“Many congratulations to overseas Pakistanis today,” said CJP Saqib Nisar, noting that it would be the first time that expat Pakistanis will be voting in a local election through I-voting mechanism.

Anis, who was representing the overseas Pakistanis, thanked Chief Justice Nisar on behalf of the expatriates for their right to vote.

He informed the CJP of the efforts of overseas Pakistanis for collection of funds for construction of dams in the country and requested him to visit the UK, Europe and the US.

He said that hundreds of millions of dollars could be contributed by the overseas Pakistanis to the funds for construction of dams as the expatriates were worried about the alarming water scarcity situation in Pakistan.

The CJP thankfully accepted the invitation mentioning that he had been earlier invited by many overseas Pakistanis residing in different countries for donations for construction of dams, but it was not possible for him to visit all the countries.

However, he said, that he would visit overseas Pakistanis along with the Governor of State Bank of Pakistan and the Wapda chairman on a seven days trip to sensitise the overseas Pakistanis about the water crisis in the country.

A seven days trip to the UK and Europe is most likely to be scheduled in October.

 

 

 

 

 

FIDA HUSSNAIN