ISLAMABAD -  The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman to process cases of officers seeking premature retirement in accordance with rules and they should be entitled to perks and pension benefits.

When a three-member SC bench headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim resumed hearing of the suo moto case regarding illegal inductions in the NAB, 

the anti-graft body Chairman Chaudhry Qamar Zaman told the court that of the nine officers inducted in the bureau, who had an inherent disqualification, two have retired, two opted for premature retirement while two others have sought repatriation to their parent departments.

He further told the court that Director General Karachi Col (retd) Sirajul Naeem and Director Lahore Squadron Leader (retd) Karamat have retired while Director Lahore Muhammad Younus and Capt (retd) Farrukh have opted for premature retirement. The court directed the NAB chairman to process their cases in accordance with rules and they should be entitled to perks and pension benefits.

The NAB chairman informed the court that Additional Director Quetta Syed Muhammad Amir and Deputy Director Lahore Ansar Yaqoob have requested to be repatriated to their parent departments. The court told the NAB chairman to relieve the officers by repatriating them to their parent departments.

The court noted that those officers (repatriated) will be entitled to salary and seniority. “If their batch mates have been promoted then they should also be promoted,” the court ordered. The NAB chairman assured the court to relieve them within 15 days.

A majority of army officers were brought to NAB on deputation for three years from 1999 to 2002 but later they were absorbed permanently. They were posted in higher positions including directors general of in various NAB regional offices.

Meanwhile, three retired army officers — DG NAB Lahore Major (retd) Syed Burhan, DG NAB Balochistan Major (retd) Tariq Mehmood and Director NAB Sindh Major (retd) Shabbir Ahmed—opted to contest their cases. The court said that it would pass an appropriate order about them today (Wednesday) while taking into account the statements of the Establishment Division secretary and the NAB chairman.

The court directed counsel of Aliya Rashid, a Grade-19 officer in NAB, to inform the court about her decision by Thursday (tomorrow). Aliya was inducted in NAB in 1995 on the basis of medals she had won in sports. The counsel told that Aliya was never engaged in an investigation in the NAB but she was the head of NAB’s awareness and anti-corruption campaign. Justice Qazi Faez Isa made it clear that in case they pass an order against her she would not get anything. “Therefore, it’s better she opt for premature retirement,” the judge said.

Her counsel S M Hafiz Rehman said that his client was inducted in the NAB under the prime minister’s policy. Justice Hani remarked that the PM policy can’t be for an individual but it should be for the larger interest of the public. The judge said that the prime minister was not a king as he also can’t go beyond his jurisdiction.

Earlier, Major Burhan and Major Tariq Mehmood argued that they were deputed in the NAB in 2000 and later with the approval of the then army chief, they inducted in the bureaus. The court, however, observed that they did not meet the requisite qualification. Justice Faez asked them if there was any law in the army for relaxation of rules. The judge said that army is the disciplined force and the army personnel should follow the rules strictly. The court told them that they could apply for NAB through the Federal Public Service Commission. Justice Faez told them they were not acting like good army officer as they wanted that the rules should be violated for their induction.

Justice Hani asked them that “now no one could say that there is no accountability in the judiciary”. He said that they have passed a judgment against illegal appointments and as a result, a judge of the apex court had to resign.

The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday (today).