NAB power to arrest before end of probe challenged

The News

LAHORE: The power of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to arrest a suspect before completion of investigation has been challenged before the Lahore High Court for being contrary to fundamental rights.

In a public interest petition, Advocate Ghulam Yasin Bhatti pleaded through counsel AK Dogar that Section 24 (a) and (d) of the NAB Ordinance 1999 is in violation of Article 10 (10-A of the Constitution and needs to be struck down.

He argued that arrest of a person during investigation and trial is inconsistent with the Article 10 of the Constitution (safeguards as to arrest and detention) for two reasons – firstly, no person can remain in custody unless he is informed about the grounds of his arrest because grounds can only be established after investigation is completed. Secondly, he said, no investigation is constitutionally valid unless an accused has been granted the fundamental right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.

Therefore, the petitioner pleaded, the NAB has a constitutional obligation not to deny an accused to consult and be defended by a lawyer at the time of investigation. The petitioner asked the court to declare Section 24 (a) and (d) of the NAB Ordinance 1999 as ultra vires of the Constitution and dictum laid down by the Supreme Court in case of “Khan Asfandyar Wali vs Federation of Pakistan PLD-2001.”

He asked the court to restrain the NAB from arresting citizens under its invalid powers and order release of hundreds of accused persons who have been taken into custody by the anti-corruption watchdog.

PTA case: A division bench of Lahore High Court on Monday directed an assistant attorney general (AAG) to seek instructions from the secretary cabinet division that what process had been initiated regarding the appointment of chairman and member technical in Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Bench comprising Justice Shamas Mehmood Mirza and Justice Shahid Karim sought report from Assistant AG till January 10, 2019. Bench observed that there must be a permanent appointed chairman in PTA for which the process should be completed expeditiously by the incumbent government.

Assistant AG submitted that the impugned advertisement regarding the appointment of chairman PTA, member technical and member finance had been withdrawn. Petitioner counsel Sheraz Zaka submitted that Muhammad Naveed was acting on temporary basis as PTA chairman which was against the law. He submitted that the superior courts had always discouraged ad hoc appointments in regulatory bodies.

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