In high-profile cases involving the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and those heard by special courts, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday forbade officials from transferring and creating new appointments during Suo Motu notice case hearing.
The orders came after a five-judge bigger bench took up the suo motu case over concerns that those in positions of authority would subvert criminal justice. Justices Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar made up the bench.
The court also served notifications on the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). In addition, the notifications were also served to the chairman of the National Accounting Board, and the interior secretary. The court ordered the NAB and the FIA to stop withdrawing cases until additional orders were issued. Further, SC has asked the parties involved to explain why there was “intervention” in criminal proceedings.
All provincial prosecutor generals and the FIA’s legal director received notices as well.
According to the CJP, previous FIA director Mohammad Rizwan was also transferred and later died of a heart attack while probing money laundering claims against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz.
A day earlier, the CJP had taken suo motu notice of a Supreme Court judge’s suggestions regarding suspected interference in the prosecution branch’s independence in the investigation and prosecution of ongoing criminal charges involving government officials.