LAHORE - The order issued by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser for the production of PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique in the lower house from NAB’s custody has been challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC).

A writ petition was filed in LHC taking the plea that National Assembly (NA) Rule 108 runs contrary to the law of the country. Allowing detained accused to attend assembly session during investigation is against the law, says the petition. The current session of the National Assembly was neither a budget session nor any important legislation is to be made therein, the petitioner says. The former Railways minister had criticised National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and other national institutions, it adds.  Petitioner Abdullah Malik filed the petition and made Federation of Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Election Commission of Pakistan, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman, NAB Lahore Director General, and Saad as respondents.

Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique were arrested on 11-12-2018 as their bail before arrest was not extended by the Lahore High Court and they were taken into custody by the NAB. On the very next day, an application on behalf of the PML-N lawmakers was moved to the NA speaker for the production of Khawaja Saad Rafique to the National Assembly of Pakistan, so as to hamper the investigation process of NAB, the petition says. 

“It is clarified that petitioner’s case is not related to conviction, it is contempt of court sedition and defamation as Saad has used abusive, derogatory and contemptuous language against the Accountability Court of Pakistan in term of Article 62 (1) (f) & 63 (2),” the petitioner says.

He submitted that the court may kindly nullify the NA Rule 108 and restrain the NA speaker from issuing order in respect of production of accused members in the assembly.

NA Rule 108(1) says, “The Speaker or Chairman of a Committee may summon a member in custody on the charge of a non-bailable offence to attend a sitting or sittings of the Assembly or meeting of a Committee of which he is a member, if he considers his presence necessary.”

Its subsection (2) says, “On a production order, signed by the Secretary or by any other officer authorized in this behalf, addressed to the Government of the Province where the member is held in custody, or to the authority concerned, the Provincial Government or such authority shall cause the member in custody to be produced before the Sergeant-at-Arms, who shall after the conclusion of their sitting or the or the meeting, deliver the member into the custody of the Provincial Government or other authority concerned.”