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Apex court bars transfer of officials involved in high-profile cases

Updated 19 May, 2022
<p>A five-member larger bench of the apex court heard the suo moto case related to the government’s “perceived interference” in the independence of prosecution branch agencies. File photo</p>

A five-member larger bench of the apex court heard the suo moto case related to the government’s “perceived interference” in the independence of prosecution branch agencies. File photo

The Supreme Court has barred authorities from transferring officials involved in high-profile cases with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and other special courts. The apex court also barred NAB and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to withdraw cases till further orders.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court heard a suo moto case related to the government’s “perceived interference” in the independence of prosecution agencies on Thursday.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial headed a bench comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar.

The CJP observed that the FIA prosecutor and former director-general Mohammad Rizwan were transferred. Later, Rizwan died of a heart attack. The court wanted to know why the officer was removed from his post, he added.

CJP Bandial remarked a prosecution officer from FIA was barred from appearing in the court as the accused were going to become the prime minister and chief minister of Punjab.

He wondered on postings of the officers who were probing high-profile cases and remarked that there should be no interference in the process of prosecution and the prosecution branch.

The chief justice remarked that the court wanted to understand the procedure through which three thousand people got benefit after the government make amendments in the exit control list rules.

Justice Naqvi remarked thousands of applications for removal of names from the ECL were pending, while the government had removed thousands of names from the list.

It is the court’s responsibility to maintain law and order in the society but these proceedings are affecting the rule of law, the CJP remarked.

The court issued notices to the NAB chairperson, DG FIA, secretary interior, provincial prosecutor generals, FIA prosecution head, FIA legal directorate and provincial attorney generals.

The NAB and FIA officials were asked to brief the apex court in their replies the reason for the interference in the high profile cases.

The apex court adjourned hearing of the case till May 27.