LAHORE  -  A Lahore High Court full bench Monday issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau on petitions questioning the NAB law, cases and trial of the convicts, including former premier Nawaz Sharif and his family members in the Avenfield case, giving the last chance to the bureau to submit its reply.

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The bench, headed by Justice Shahid Waheed and comprising Justice Atir Mahmood and Justice Shahid Jamil, passed the order, announcing day to-day proceedings would be held from August 29.

The bench was hearing the petitions moved by Pakistan Lawyers Foundation and Advocate Saad Saleem wherein National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, was challenged on the basis that it had been promulgated by military dictator Pervez Musharraf under Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) No 1 of 1999 as well as Order No 9 of 1999.

The bench, however, turned down two petitions filed at a later stage to be party in the case, but nobody represented the NAB in the court. The petitioners said Order No 9 was promulgated only to amend PCO No 1 of 1999 by inserting Section 5A (1) in it to the effect that limitation of 120 days prescribed under Article 89 of the Constitution to any ordinance by the President would not be applicable to the laws made under PCO No 1 of 1999.

He said Order No 9 was promulgated only to amend PCO No 1 of 1999 with the insertion of Section 5A (1) in it to the effect that limitation of 120 days prescribed under Article 89 of the Constitution to any ordinance by the president will not be applicable to the laws made under PCO No 1 of 1999. The lawyer contended that as the PCO No 1 was declared without lawful authority and of no legal effect, the amendments in it made under Order No 9 of 1999 would also lapse and therefore, the limitation period of 120 days prescribed under Article 89 would not be applicable to the NAB ordinance.

The lawyer said certain laws which were still in force shall continue to remain intact unless amended by the competent legislation under sub-article 2 of Article 270-AA of the Constitution. He contended the NAB ordinance had ceased to be the law. He prayed to the court to set aside all those proceedings being carried out by the NAB courts under the NAB ordinance that had ceased to be a law.

He said Order No 9 was promulgated only to amend PCO No 1 of 1999 with the insertion of Section 5A (1) in it to the effect that limitation of 120 days prescribed under Article 89 of the Constitution to any ordinance by the President will not be applicable to the laws made under PCO No 1 of 1999. The lawyer contended that as PCO No 1 was declared without lawful authority and of no legal effect, the amendments to it made under order No 9 of 1999 would also lapse and the limitation period of 120 days prescribed under Article 89 would, therefore, be applicable to the NAB ordinance.

The lawyer said certain laws which were still in force shall continue to remain intact unless amended by the competent legislation under sub-article 2 of Article 270-AA of the Constitution. He prayed to the court to declare that the NAB ordinance had ceased to be the law and had become non-existent. He also prayed to the court to set aside all those proceedings being carried out by the NAB courts under the dead law of NAB ordinance.

Noticing the absence of NAB counsel form the court for the hearing, the bench ordered the bureau’s prosecutor to appear before it at the next hearing and submit reply.