ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali has remarked that it was country’s misfortune that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) emptied the prisons of the country by extending the NAB Ordinance section allowing plea bargain and voluntary return to thieves and corrupts.
A three-member bench of SC headed by the CJP resumed hearing of the suo motu case against the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) section that allows ‘voluntary return and plea bargain.
The CJP expressed his displeasure over the absence of Attorney General for Pakistan. When the government counsel told the court that the AGP was in Washington in connection with Pak-India dispute over water, the CJP remarked; “ let the AGP go abroad on permanent basis so that no case of national importance could be heard.”
Regarding the NAB Ordinance’s section allowing plea bargain and voluntary return, the CJP said: “under this section the authorities are to apprehend the criminal, recover the amounts and let the criminal go with thanks, so he can commit more crimes.”
The Chief Justice further remarked that under the NAB section in question, officers involved in corruption were even allowed to return to their posts and then continue to pay back the embezzled amount in installments.
When the government counsel informed the court that as per Establishment Division’s report no departmental proceeding was initiated and action taken against those entered into plea bargain or voluntarily returned the embezzled amounts, the CJP remarked that it was unfortunate that the NAB by extending the sections to thieves and corrupt emptied the prisons of the country.
Justice Amir Hani Muslim remarked that reinstating those government employees who returned embezzled amount under plea bargain was itself a misconduct.
The Additional Attorney General for Pakistan informed the court that the parliamentary committee was reviewing the NAB ordinance, to which the Chief Justice expressed his displeasure stating that when matters were not fo be resolved committees were formed to address them.
The court while seeking detailed replies from NAB, Centre and four provinces adjourned the hearing of the case by October 24, 2016.