SC directs AGP to submit govt’s view on amended NAB ordinance | Pakistan Today

SC directs AGP to submit govt’s view on amended NAB ordinance

ISLAMABAD
A three-member Supreme Court (SC) bench on Tuesday directed the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) to present the government’s written point of view over the promulgation of the National Accountability Bureau (Amendment) Ordinance, 2010.
The bench comprising Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, was hearing two petitions challenging the National Accountability (Amendment) Bureau Ordinance, 2010, promulgated by President Asif Ali Zardari last month. The amended ordinance was challenged before the apex court by Senator Syed Zafar Ali Shah of the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) and a certain Shahid Orakzai.
Time granted: Appearing on notice, AGP Anwarul Haq told the court that he came back from abroad last night and therefore he could not make preparations for pleading the case. He requested the court to allow him time so that he might be able to be properly argue the case. The court accepted his request and adjourned the hearing for a week.
However, the SC directed the AGP to present at the next hearing a concise but comprehensive written statement on the constitutional and legal justification of promulgating the amended ordinance, dates of consultations with the prime minister on the ordinance as well as other stages that came before the issuance of the ordinance.
The petitioner, Zafar Ali Shah, requested the court to question the government as to on which date the ordinance was sent to the Printing Corporation of Pakistan (PCP). To this, the court said the written statement would encapsulate everything. Zafar requested the SC to suspend the ordinance by declaring it unconstitutional and illegal.
The ordinance was promulgated by President Asif Ali Zardari on September 16 and was consequently tabled in Senate by Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan on October 1, the last day of the Upper House’s 12-day session.
The next day, the issue exploded in ore he could not make preparations for pleading the case. He requested the court to allow him time so that he might be able to be properly argue the case. The court accepted his request and adjourned the hearing for a week.
However, the SC directed the AGP to present at the next hearing a concise but comprehensive written statement on the constitutional and legal justification of promulgating the amended ordinance, dates of consultations with the prime minister on the ordinance as well as other stages that came before the issuance of the ordinance.
The petitioner, Zafar Ali Shah, requested the court to question the government as to on which date the ordinance was sent to the Printing Corporation of Pakistan (PCP). To this, the court said the written statement would encapsulate everything. Zafar requested the SC to suspend the ordinance by declaring it unconstitutional and illegal.
The ordinance was promulgated by President Asif Ali Zardari on September 16 and was consequently tabled in Senate by Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan on October 1, the last day of the Upper House’s 12-day session.
The next day, the issue exploded in both houses of parliament, embarrassing Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in National Assembly, forcing an opposition walkout from Senate and a split within the PPP, with Senator Raza Rabbani joining the opposition walkout.
Senator Shah had made the federation of Pakistan, through the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, respondent in the case. The petition termed the whole process from promulgation to submission of the ordinance in Senate unconstitutional and illegal.
Shah, in his petition, stated that the ordinance had been promulgated without the advice of Gilani (essential under the constitution) because he had expressed his ignorance about the legislation. He urged the court to suspend the operation of the ordinance until the decision on the petition since it was ultra vires of the constitution.



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