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'Illegal' appointments: SC wants NAB to move against Yousaf Gilani

15 November, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: Though the Supreme Court has dropped proceedings against incumbent Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, it wants to pursue the case against former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani over the illegal appointments of NRO beneficiaries and asked NAB to move against him.

Gilani faces tough time as the court resumes hearing of the Hajj corruption case. The court on Wednesday, while expressing annoyance over NAB's action to send references against the bureaucrats who had followed orders and not the one who gave them, said ex-PM Gilani had misused his authority in appointment of Adnan Khawaja.

A five-member bench headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali was hearing the cases of illegal appointments of NRO beneficiaries – Adnan Khawaja as managing director of OGDC and Imtiaz Sheikh as the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) additional DG. The court asked the NAB prosecutor general to act against the guilty people otherwise it (the court) would court would pass an order which would be more damaging.

During the hearing, NAB Prosecutor General KK Agha argued, "We believe there was no mens rea (criminal intent) in the appointment of Adnan Khawaja, therefore no reference has been sent against the ex-PM." He added Khawaja remained OGDC MD only for seven days and caused no loss to the national exchequer. He, however, told the bench that references have been sent against Ismail Qureshi, former principal secretary to the PM, Saeed Gilani and Rang Zia, bureaucrats involved in the appointment of Adnan Khawaja.

Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa remarked that the ex-PM directed the appointment but no action has been taken against him. Justice Khilji Arif maintained that the convicted people were given a favour by Gilani. Justice Jamali said NAB was trying to save the key respondents of the case and apparently the country's top officials seem to be involved in corruption.

He questioned how could a reference be filed against the people who followed the order but not against the person who ordered them. Justice Khosa remarked that the officials had carried out the order of their political master. Justice Ejaz, meanwhile, observed it was not the job of NAB to determine criminal intent. Justice Jamali stated that even an attempt to commit a crime was an offence.

Regarding a reference against former attorney general Malik Qayyum, KK Agha said that in NAB executive board's meeting it was decided that inquiries against the former attorney general would be closed. Justice Khosa observed that Malik Qayyum had misused his authority as the attorney general. The court directed NAB authorities to review sending reference against Qayyum in the light of Asghar Khan and Anita Turab case and adjourned the case until December 4.

End.

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