After months of foot-dragging, govt appoints judges to two NAB courts

December 02, 2023

After months of foot-dragging to fill vacant posts of judges in Karachi’s accountability courts —commonly known as NAB courts -- the federal government on Friday appointed two judicial officers to head two of these courts.

According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice, two district and sessions judges — Tasneem Sultana and Shahid Pervaiz Memon — have been appointed as the judges of Accountability Court I and IV, respectively.

A logo of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is seen on the main entrance of their office in Karachi, Pakistan. — APP File

“In exercise of powers conferred under Section 5A(2) of National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 (Section 4 of the Second Amendment Act, 12th August, 2022), the Federal Government is pleased to appoint the following District & Sessions Judges as Judges in Accountability Courts, Karachi, on deputation basis, in their own pay and scale,” read the notification.

Tasneem Sultana has been appointed for a period of a year until December 6, 2024 or till further orders, while Shahid Pervaiz Memon until his superannuation i.e. April 10, 2024. Accountability Court IV fell vacant on July 15 this year when the three-year tenure of its presiding officer, Suresh Kumar, ended, while Accountability Court I has been lying vacant for the past nine months.

The accountability courts in Karachi fell vacant after their presiding officers retired or their tenure expired. The last of the six existing accountability courts was rendered non-functional on November 17 when its presiding officer, Aaliya Latif Unar, called it a day.

Subsequently, the ministry notified the special judge (customs, taxation and anti-smuggling) as the link judge to “attend the judicial business/work of Accountability Courts, Karachi till the appointment of any Judge in currently existing Accountability Courts (I, II, III, IV, V or VIII) Karachi or until further orders.”

The city had ten accountability courts until October 10 when the federal government redesignated/converted four of the accountability courts into two banking courts, one anti-narcotic and a gas utility court.

Accountability courts (AC) VI, AC-VII, AC-IX, and AC-X were converted into Banking Court-VI, Banking Court-VII, Special Court-III (Control of Narcotic Substances), and recently set up Gas Utility Court for the Karachi division.