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February 14, 2020

Ruling to be issued over NAB chief’s arrest powers: IHC CJ

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APP
February 14, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah said on Thursday the court would issue a detailed judgement regarding the powers of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman for the issuance of arrest warrants, as he noted arresting someone without any solid proof was a violation of basic human rights.

The IHC chief justice made these remarks while hearing a bail petition filed by PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal against his arrest by the anti-corruption watchdog in a corruption case.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Lubna Saleem Pervaiz heard the bail petition. The court directed the NAB to apprise it of solid reasons on the next date of hearing regarding the arrest of the PML-N leader in the Narowal Sport Complex corruption case.

The petitioner’s counsel Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri claimed there was no allegation of financial misappropriation, bribe, benami property or having assets beyond known sources of income against Iqbal. The NAB had accused him only of misusing of powers during the tenure of the PML-N government, he added.

The chief justice questioned as to why the NAB had arrested Iqbal if he was cooperating with it in investigations. Arresting someone without any solid proof was violation of his basic human rights as an accused was innocent in the eyes of law until he was proved as guilty, he added. NAB’s Additional Prosecutor General Jahanzeb Bharwana pleaded that the NAB chairman had the authority to issue arrest warrants of the accused. The Narowal Sport Complex was a provincial project but funds were issued by the federal government for it, he added.

He said the accused was taken into custody by the NAB in order to avoid record tampering or influencing witnesses by him and stop him from fleeing abroad.

Justice Minallah asked as to how the accused could tamper the record. Whether he was still holding the ministry’s record. The accused’s name could be placed on Exit Control List (ECL) to stop him from fleeing abroad. Later, the court adjourned the case for a week directing the NAB to provide solid reasons for the arrest of the PML-N leader.