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April 21, 2017

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Hudaibia case a past and closed transaction now

Hudaibia case a past and closed transaction now

ISLAMABAD: Though all the judges have grilled the chairman NAB for not filing an appeal against Lahore High Court decision in Hudaibia Paper Mills case but the SC has not ordered to re-open the case, thus, making it a past and closed transaction. 

The court order says that in normal circumstances, such exercise could be conducted by the NAB but when its Chairman appears to be indifferent and even unwilling to perform his part, we are constrained to look elsewhere and therefore, constitute a Joint Investigation Team (JIT). 

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said that the case was referred to a third learned Judge, who also held vide judgment dated 11.3.2014, reported as M/s. Hudaibya Papers Mills Ltd and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2016 Lahore 667) that further investigations were not legally possible. “We have examined the said judgments, which have been placed on record and are surprised by the conclusions drawn but we are not surprised by the failure of NAB to file an appeal against the aforesaid judgments before this court. The Chairman, NAB shamelessly defended the decision of not filing an appeal. Interestingly, appeals are filed by the NAB before this Court in routine but not in this case.” 

Justice Ijaz ul Hassan in his note wrote that ‘owing to the importance of the issue and considering the consistent practice of NAB that most verdicts of the High Court which had any adverse impact on investigations and prosecutions being conducted by the NAB were challenged before this Court, we were surprised why this judgment was not challenged and whether failure to challenge was based upon the fact that the parties involved were influential and prominent in the corridors of power. In order to clarify the position, we summoned the current Chairman, NAB as well as the Prosecutor General, NAB along with the record to explain the position. On being questioned lame, feeble and unconvincing excuses were put forth to the effect that an internal opinion was sought from in-house counsel who opined that in view of the fact that two Honorable Judges of the Lahore High Court had recorded findings against NAB on the question of reinvestigation, there were slim chances of success of an appeal before this Court. The then Chairman, NAB who, not unsurprisingly is also the current Chairman appears to have readily agreed with such opinion and decided to shelve the matter by not filing an appeal before this Court. Despite our serious misgivings regarding the motivation, merit and impartiality of such decision, the Chairman NAB blatantly and unapologetically defended his action and stated that he would stick to his earlier decision despite discovery of new material and evidence.’

Despite such harsh observations, the Panama Papers case does not order re-opening of Hudaibia Paper Mills case. 

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