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NAB can arrest suspects without issuing summons: SC

28 March, 2019

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the National Accountability Bureau to arrest suspects without issuing summons. The decision was made during the hearing of a case.

A three-member bench led by Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh issued an order, stating that the anti-graft watchdog has right to arrest a suspect if it has irrefutable evidence. “In such a scenario, it is not required to summon the suspect,” the bench said. The apex court, however, expressed hope that the bureau would not abuse the power granted to it.

The decision comes amid strong criticism of NAB officials by bureaucrats, current and former government officials. Recently, former army brigadier Asad Munir committed suicide. He left behind a note, lamenting disrespectful treatment meted out by the NAB. “With one exception, all other investigating officers in my case were incompetent, rude, arrogant, untrained; knew little about the working of the department they were investigating,” he wrote. The retired army officer urged chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the anti-graft watchdog officials’ conduct “so that other government officials are not convicted for the crimes they had not committed.”

On March 21, Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa took notice of the suicide note left behind by retired Pakistan army brigadier and intelligence officer Asad Munir and sought a reply from National Accountability Bureau Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal in the matter.

Separately, a Supreme Court bench at Karachi Registry heard the bail petitions of former chairman of Fishermen’s Cooperative Society (FCS), Nisar Morai, and others on Wednesday in illegal appointments, embezzlement of funds and corruption reference.

The counsel of Morai requested the court for constitution of a three-judge bench of the apex court for hearing the bail petition.

The court ruled for constitution of a three judges bench and adjourned the hearing. The prosecutor of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) argued before the bench that the accused have been involved in corruption and financial irregularities. He said the prosecution has irrefutable evidence of the charges against the accused.

An accountability court is hearing corruption reference against the accused, the NAB counsel said.

The lawyers for the petitioners had submitted that the NAB had filed references on baseless allegations and the prosecution failed to produce any sufficient evidence before the trial court. They submitted that Morai and other co-accused were patients and they required proper medical treatment which was not available in the prison hospital. They requested the court to grant bail as they were appearing before the trial court.

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