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SC gives govt 'last chance' on NAB chief appointment

14 September, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Expressing annoyance over its failure to appoint the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman, the Supreme Court has warned the federal government to make the appointment immediately or be ready to face the consequences.

A three-member bench of the court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, issued the direction while hearing the case regarding the NAB chief's appointment. It questioned whether the government wanted to make the institution non-functional as it had not implemented its judgement on the appointment of Federal Service Tribunal's chairman.

The bench said that despite its order, the government has not appointed the NAB chairman for the last three months. Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh observed that it seemed that eradication of corruption was not the government's priority. Meanwhile, Attorney General of Pakistan Muneer A Malik told the bench that the government had continued the process for the appointment of NAB chairman, and a meeting was held in this regard between the prime minister and leader of the opposition on September 6.

He stated that the opinion of the leader of the opposition was crucial in this matter, but he was out of the country presently, therefore, the issue was still pending. He requested the bench to give further time as the government was following all the best standards to appoint a suitable person against this key position to avoid any criticism. Upon this, the chief justice observed, "This is not our issue. Our issue is rule of law and implementation of the judgements of the court." He said that despite clear directions of the apex court, no progress has been made in this matter which showed non-seriousness of the federation.

Justice Iftikhar also said that a major institution of the country has become non-functional due to the absence of its head, and there has been no progress in the investigation of mega corruption cases. The chief justice said that the government should implement the five-member bench's June 7 judgement in the matter related to the appointment of NAB chairman. Regarding consultation with the chief justice of Pakistan over this appointment, he said that the court was ready to implement its judgement in this matter.

Meanwhile, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja noted that the prime minister could consult the leader of opposition through video conference. The AGP said that if consultation between the prime minister and leader of opposition is not fruitful a mechanism is provided in Chaudhry Nisar case judgement regarding the appointment of NAB chairman.

End.

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