PESHAWAR - Peshawar High Court (PHC) yesterday restrained the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Courts from proceeding further into the cases of KP Ehtesab Commission (KPEC) till next order.

At least 11 constitutional writ petitions of the same nature were filed in the court challenging various sections of the KPEC Act, appointment of KPEC’s director general and establishment of the commission.

Prominent among those who have filed petitions are two former provincial ministers including PTI’s Ziaullah Afridi, PPP’s Liaqat Shabab, chief coordinating officer of Kohat district council Noor Daraz Khattak, father of PTI MPA Gul Sahab Khattak, owner of Iqra National University Obaidur Rehman, additional secretary finance Imtiaz Ayub, secretary industries Sajid Khan Jadoon and others.

Hearing the petitions, a larger bench consisting of Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Nisar Hussain, Justice Irshad Qaiser, Justice Syed Afsar Shah and Justice Muhammad Younas Thahim issued the restraining order.

Counsels for the petitioners including Aminur Rehman Yousafzai and Shumail Ahmad Butt argued on the first day on behalf of all the lawyers. Other lawyers included Qazi Jawad Ihsanullah, Sardar Ali Raza, Ghulam Mohyuddin Malik, Barrister Mudasir Ameer, Barrister Waqar and Arshad Ali.

Also, Shumail Ahmad Butt will continue his arguments in the cases before the larger bench (Tuesday) today. The Prosecutor General KPEC Syed Zahid Yahya Gilani, prosecutors Lajbar Khan, Zahid Aman, Farooq Shah and Qazi Babar Irshad also appeared in the cases.

The lawyers told the court that in order to stop corruption in the province, the KP government approved the KP Ehtesab Commission Act in September 2014 and started inquiries in corruption cases.

The court was told that the commission started arresting of the suspects in June 2014. However, they pointed out before the bench that the provincial government through chief secretary had issued notification of the formation of the KPEC in September 2015 and the commission started action in June 2014. They stated that arrests before the notification for formation of the commission was illegal.

Furthermore, the lawyers pointed out that the provincial government against the law had appointed the director general directly and as per the KPEC Act, the members of the commission would appoint the director general of the commission and thus both the formation of the commission and appointment of the director general was illegal and against the law.

Giving retrospective effect to the KPEC Act and empower the commission to start inquiries in corruption cases since 2004, the lawyers said was in violation of the Constitution as in Constitution criminal cases cannot be reopened or inquired from old dates.

Moreover, there was no check and balance system in the KPEC as only one man (director general) of the commission has been empowered only. The larger bench is constituted for deciding all the constitutional cases will continue hearing on day-to-day basis.