ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday ordered the government to make a decision within a month about establishing 120 accountability courts throughout the country.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmad, who was heading the three-judge bench hearing the suo moto case, said the court sought a report from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman regarding NAB rules.
The NAB prosecutor replied that the rules are with the Law Ministry. “The same thing was told to the apex court during the last hearing,” the CJP remarked.
The additional attorney general informed the court that at the moment there were 24 fully functional accountability courts working in the country. There was no vacant post in any of these courts, he added.
Expressing anger over the absence of a regular secretary in the law ministry, the court directed for the appointment of a permanent secretary in the ministry. “There is no room for ad hocism now,” the chief justice remarked.
The CJP again sought a report about the NAB rules from the Law Ministry, posing a question of what happened to the planned establishment of 120 courts.
The court then adjourned the hearing for one month. On September 4, 2020, the government, after the directive of the apex court, had unveiled a comprehensive plan to set up 120 accountability courts across the country. The decision was taken by Law Minister Barrister Farogh Naseem.
The plan included the overall human resource requirements and financial implications for the establishment of additional accountability courts across the country. A statement issued by the law ministry had said that the plan would be presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Currently, 24 accountability courts are functioning across the country, including in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Lahore, Multan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Quetta.
The apex court issued the directives after expressing dismay over of 1,226 pending references since the year 2000. The directives were issued by CJP Gulzar while hearing a suo motu case regarding the delay in trials before accountability courts in the light of Section 16 of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999, which asks for deciding corruption matters within a period of 30 days.