SHC questions maintainability of petition against NAB Ordinance


KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday questioned maintainability of a petition challenging validity of the NAB Ordinance, 1999 under which the NAB authorities are prosecuting, investigating and filing references against the employees belonging to the provincial service.

A division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar had taken up a petition filed by Dr Asghar Abbas Sheikh, who moved the court requesting it to restrain the NAB authorities from proceeding against the employees belonging to the provincial service or an employee working in a provincial government department, corporation, statutory body, bank, co-operative, local council or authority under the NAB Ordinance 1999.

While adjourning till July 10, the bench directed the counsel for the petitioner to forward his arguments about maintainability of the petition at the next hearing.

At the outset of hearing, the petitioner, ex-director general of the Sehwan Development Authority submitted that following the summons from the NAB authorities issued under NAB Ordinance 1999, he immediately responded to them and appeared before NAB officials in connection with a corruption enquiry. However, he added, he was allowed to leave and later he obtained bail before arrest in connection with the enquiry against him over corruption allegations.

The petitioner said that later they had once again issued summons and kept harassing him and his family members. He complained to the judges that the NAB authorities have once again started harassing him, threatening to implicate him in criminal cases.

Farooq H Naik, who represented the petitioner, argued NAB officials had no powers to summon or investigate any case against the petitioner under the NAB Ordinance as it had lost its validity after the promulgation of 18th amendment.

He stated the president had promulgated the NAB Ordinance in 1999 exercising the powers under Proclamation of Emergency and the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) 1999.

The counsel said all the ordinances, including the NAB Ordinance, promulgated during the Proclamation of Emergency of the fourteenth day of October, 1999, were protected and validated by Article 170-AA of the Constitution (Seventeenth Amendment) Act, 2003. However, he added, later in 2010 Eighteenth Amendment Act, 2010 was passed by the parliament which repealed certain legal instruments including the Constitution (Seventeenth Amendment) Act, 2003.

Therefore, he argued, the protection and validity given to the NAB Ordinance stood annulled in view of the repeal of the seventeenth amendment and declaration of the instrument mentioned in Article 270-AA being without lawful authority and having no legal effect.