ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the appointment of Qamar Zaman Chaudhry as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman.

Imran Khan filed the petition under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, making the federation through the Establishment Division secretary and NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry respondents.

Federal Interior Secretary Major (r) Qamar Zaman was appointed the NAB chairman on October 10 against the post lying vacant since May 28 this year when the Supreme Court declared the appointment of Admiral (r) Fasih Bukhari as illegal.

Hamid Khan who filed the petition on behalf of Imran Khan prayed to the court to declare the notification of Qamar Zaman’s appointment as the NAB chairman illegal, void, without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

“Qamar Zaman’s appointment is against Section 6 of National Accountability Ordinance 1999,” Hamid Khan said in the petition, adding his name should not have even been discussed by the leader of the house and the leader of the opposition as he was not a retired person in the service of Pakistan.

Section 6 (ba) (iii) of National Accountability Ordinance 1999 says: “A person should not be appointed as NAB chairman unless he is a retired federal government officer in BPS-22 or equivalent.” However, Zaman had applied for retirement from the position of federal interior secretary after his selection and the process was hastily completed within 24 hours.

The petitioner contended that the word ‘retired’ in Section 6 (ba) (iii) ensured that the incumbent chairman had cut off his ties with the class he belonged to. “Therefore, the Constitution’s articles 41, 63, and 207 (2)) have prescribed a period of two years for the government servants to hold an elected office,” he contended.

The petitioner said: “The appointing authority in this case is the president of Pakistan who is legally obligated to consult the leader of the house and leader of the opposition and then appoint a person as the NAB chairman after developing consensus on his name.” Under Section 6 of NAO 1999, the power of the president was statutory, so he was not bound to act upon the advice of the prime minister and the cabinet, he further argued.

“In the instant case, the leader of the house and the leader of the opposition held several meetings and, after developing consensus, decided to appoint Zaman as the NAB chairman. The office of the president has been relegated only to the position of an instrument. The president should have consulted all the opposition parties, particularly PTI as it is the second largest party in terms of number of votes it obtained in the general elections,” Hamid contended.

The petitioner said there were references against the leaders of Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz that had remained in power for the last 30 years. And the appointment was the result of ‘understanding’ or ‘complicity’ between the two parties, he remarked.

The petitioner stated that contempt proceeding were pending in the Supreme Court against Qamar Zaman and a show-cause notice was also issued to him. The incumbent chairman had a chequered service record and career which should have been duly considered before his appointment, he concluded.