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SC gives NAB chief seven days to engage lawyer

05 February, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday granted one week to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Admiral (r) Fasih Bokhari to engage a counsel in the contempt of court case against him.

The Supreme Court has also rejected NAB's plea regarding the constitution of a larger bench to hear the matter regarding the implementation of the court's March 30, 2012, judgement in the rental power projects (RPPs) corruption case. During the hearing on Monday, NAB Prosecutor General KK Agha requested the bench to constitute a larger bench, but the chief justice of Pakistan told him that a three-member bench was hearing the RPPs case, while a two-member bench was hearing a related case, which made it a larger bench.

Meanwhile, a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, granted one week to Admiral Bokhari to engage a counsel in the contempt of court case against him. The NAB chairman was served contempt notice on January 31 for writing a letter to President Asif Ali Zardari wherein he had complained that the Supreme Court was unnecessarily pressurising the NAB officials in investigations related to high profile matters, especially the rental power projects case. Appearing on notice, the NAB chairman sought time for engaging a counsel. While accepting the plea, the court asked Admiral Bokhari if seven days were enough for the purpose.

In response, the NAB chairman said, "I will try my best to engage my counsel in the instant case by February 12." The court adjourned the hearing till February 12. On January 31, the court had issued contempt of court notice to Admiral Bokhari after reviewing the letter he wrote to the president. It had served contempt notice on the NAB chairman under Section 204, read with Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003, directing him to appear in person before the court on February 4 for filing of a reply and for further proceedings in the matter according to the constitution and law.

After going through its contents, the court had observed that whatever the NAB chairman has expressed in his letter to the president was tantamount to causing interference in or obstructing the process of the court, and that he has used certain expressions to scandalise the court and its performance that resulted in undermining the authority of the court and bringing it into hatred of general public, which has confidence over it.

The court in its order had ruled that the NAB chairman's letter should not be made the basis for taking unconstitutional steps on the part of the civilian or military institutions or even the executive, adding that the parliamentary system was working according to the constitution and law in the country. The order also had ruled that the next general elections should be held according to the constitution.


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