Connect with us


SC mulls parliament’s power of retrospective law making



ISLAMABAD: As the Supreme Court reserved its verdict on a petition contesting changes to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law, members of the three-judge bench debated the power of parliament to enact legislation with retrospective effect.

After 53 hearings, the bench led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, while making a reference to the judgement, said something “short and sweet” would be released soon.

But before closing the case, Justice Syed Man­soor Ali Shah wondered when the petition asked for across-the-board acco­u­n­tability, why serving army officers’ corrupt pra­ctices have been removed from NAB’s purview.

Justice Shah recalled that as per the 2001 Khan Asfandyar Wali case, army officers have their own system of accountability under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA). But in the same vein, civil servants also have the Civil Servants Act, while the politicians also have their own system of accountability like the Elections Act 2017, but they are still subject to the NAB law.

Senior counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed, on behalf of petitioner Imran Khan, explained that his client had not challenged Section 5(m) of the NAO, which bars NAB action against officers who come under the purview of the Pakistan Army Act.

Justice Shah also wondered when Article 209 of the Constitution deals with the removal of judges how the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) could order the recovery of corruption money in case it ordered the removal of a superior court judge.

Senior counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan, on behalf of the previous government, explained that except for Article 209 of the Constitution, no action could be taken against retired judges.

Cases returned from NAB

During the hearing, Additional Prosecutor General Mumtaz Yousuf told the court that under the 2022 NAB amendments, 336 cases have been returned by accountability courts to NAB, whereas 24 have been transferred to relevant courts.

Likewise, under the 2023 amendments, 212 cases have been returned; 30 cases have been sent to relevant courts on grounds that no case of misuse of authority could be made out against the accused.

CJP Bandial regretted that the real allegation against the NAB was that it followed no criteria since sometimes it misused authority by proceeding against those involved in corruption involving less money.

The court again asked the NAB to furnish a complete report suggesting how many cases have been returned to the NAB by the accountability courts.

Debate on retrospective laws

During the hearing, the CJP wondered whether amendments to give retrospective effect would also change the meaning of the offence.

“What is the purpose of this retrospective effect,” the CJP observed, adding that would retrospective effect mean the end of the conviction and the return of the money allegedly misappropriated.

Justice Shah, however, asked whether parliament was entitled to make amendments to give retrospective effect; if so, could the court attribute malice to parliament for amending the law to this effect? “And if we can’t say anything against the parliament in this regard, then we have to live with it,” Justice Shah emphasised.

But Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that parliament was not permitted to do everything and thus could not end offences by giving retrospective effect to laws. At this, Justice Shah again wondered which provisions of the law barred parliament from making laws with retroactive effect.

The CJP, however, observed that the NAB law could be amendment to provide retrospective effect but the past and closed transactions or cases which have reached finality should not be reopened.

Justice Shah wondered could the court send the amendments back to parliament for reconsideration. The CJP interjected saying if the judges find defects in the law, the law could be sent back to parliament but what do the courts do in the meantime? “How we can say defects [in law] should continue while parliament decides to reconsider the law,” Justice Ahsan observed.

Justice Shah conceded that the court could look into any law if it involves a violation of fundamental rights, asking how were the fundamental rights involved in the present case.

Justice Ahsan observed that if public property was misappropriated then the fundamental rights of every citizen were breached.

Khawaja Haris told the court that NAB had no authority to deal with the corruption references that have been returned by the accountability courts. Justice Shah said that the return of the cases “does not mean that these have been closed, or dissolved or dismissed rather currently no forum was available to send these cases”.

So far all the accused whose cases have been returned have gone straight to their homes while the cases were being dumped at the NAB office, argued Khawaja Haris. He said it was alleged by the other side that some amendments were done during the PTI government, but his client told the accountability watchdog that he would not benefit from these laws, the counsel said.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2023


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


China thrill in track and field but footballers flop again at Asiad



HANGZHOU: China swept four gold medals in track and field at the Asian Games on Sunday to celebrate national day, but their men’s football team failed to read the script and were dumped out by South Korea.

The hosts are running away at the top of the overall medals table in Hangzhou with 132 golds and still seven days of competition to go.

China is enjoying a long holiday for national day and patriotic fervour filled the 80,000-seater Olympic stadium in the eastern city for the evening’s athletics.

Waving mini flags and roaring on the home competitors, they were not to be disappointed.

Wang Jianan, nicknamed Ed­die, leapt an impressive 8.22m on his first attempt in the long jump. It proved enough to defend his title.

Discus thrower Feng Bin, who like Wang was dethroned as world champion in August, also bounced back in style to claim gold with a throw of 67.93m, a Games record.

“I’m really happy. After all, today is national day, a very special day for every Chinese person,” the 29-year-old Feng said.

“To win my first Asian Games medal on this day makes me extremely happy and excited.”

There was more home success through Lin Yuwei in the 100m hurdles and Zheng Ninali in the women’s heptathlon.

China’s men’s football team is often derided at home and they once again failed to get in the holiday mood.

They were outclassed and soundly beaten 2-0 by South Korea in the last eight to disappoint a bumper crowd of nearly 40,000.

The Koreans, who are chasing a third gold medal in a row in the under-23 competition, face Uzbekistan in the semi-finals.

Japan beat North Korea 2-1 and will play Hong Kong, surprise 1-0 victors over Iran, in the last four.

The North Koreans rounded on the Uzbek match officials at the final whistle and at least one furious player had to be held back by his team-mates.

China also suffered a comprehensive loss in the final of the women’s team badminton competition.

The South Korean squad raced onto the court and some players were in tears after a 3-0 win for their first gold in the event for nearly 30 years.

South Korea’s coach Kim Hak-kyun called the gold “precious” and said they were already targeting more success at next summer’s Paris Olympics.

“This is thanks to the determination, mindset, mentality and unity of our players,” said Kim.

China did however recover to win the final of the men’s team competition 3-2 after going behind to India.

The home nation also enjoyed double gold in table tennis, with Sun Yingsha winning women’s singles gold and the duo of Fan Zhendong and Wang Chuqin taking the men’s doubles title.

In some of the first action of the day, Thailand’s Arpichaya Yubol snatched women’s golf gold after India’s Aditi Ashok blew a seven-shot overnight lead.

In the men’s event, rising star Taichi Kho kept his nerve despite a charge by PGA Tour star Im Sung-jae for a one-stroke victory.

It was Hong Kong’s first gold in golf at the Asian Games.

At the shooting range the Chinese women’s trap team of Li Qingnian, 42, Wu Cuicui, 35, and Zhang Xinqiu, 29, set a new world record of 357 points on their way to winning gold, eclipsing the previous world best of 354 points set by the United States in 2018.

In trap competitors wield shotguns and aim at clay-based targets being fired rapidly away from the shooter at different angles.

The silver medal went to India, whose team included Rajeshwari Kumari, 31, daughter of acting president of the Olympic Council of Asia and former Asian Games champion in shooting, Randhir Singh.

In the men’s U23 3×3 basketball, Mongolia won their first ever Asian Games bronze medal in a team event, before Taiwan pipped Qatar 18-16 to win gold and trigger elation on the court and a huge roar from Taiwan journalists in the media centre.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2023


Continue Reading


Pakistanis among 40 nations facing backlash for reporting rights abuses



ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is among the 40 countries across the world where over 220 individuals and 25 organisations faced threats and retaliation from the state and non-state actors for cooperating with the United Nations on human rights, reveals a new report of the UN Secretary-General.

The report titled, ‘Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights’ covering the period from May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023, was recently presented at the Human Rights Council (HRC) session in Geneva. The session will continue till Oct 6.

The report says human rights defenders and other civil society activists are increasingly under surveillance and continued to face legal proceedings, travel bans and threats and they are given prison sentences for cooperating with UN’s human mechanisms.

The UN secretary-general said that the organisation has a collective responsibility to prevent and address intimidation and reprisals, guided by the principle of “do no harm” and a victim- and survivor-oriented approach.

Civil society activists face legal proceedings, jail sentence, travel bans and threats for cooperating with UN’s rights mechanism, says report

“Considerable progress has been made in shedding light on and addressing the issue, including through initiatives on civic space under ‘Call to Action for Human Rights’, the UN chief said.

“The UN is committed to strengthening its efforts to prevent reprisals, including through clear zero-tolerance messages and by awareness-raising among staff, member states and civil society interlocutors. We will further strengthen our response to reprisal cases and ensure appropriate systems are in place to identify, document and report on incidents, including those in the annual reports. We will reinforce the dissemination of information on what reprisals are and how to report incidents, in particular for UN bodies where reprisals are repeatedly reported,” he added.

“A global context of shrinking civic space is making it increasingly difficult to properly document, report and respond to cases of reprisals, which means that the number is likely much higher,” said Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, in her presentation to the HRC on Thursday.

“Despite ongoing efforts, regrettably, the number of reported acts of intimidation and reprisal by state and non-state actors remains high and their severity is very concerning,” she said.

“The global trends documented this year are also similar to those identified in previous reports, but with new emerging tendencies,” the UN official said.

Among the growing trends noted in the report is the increase in the number of people either choosing not to cooperate with the UN due to concerns for their safety, or only doing so if their identities remain anonymous.

Victims and witnesses in two-thirds of the countries listed in the report requested anonymous reporting of reprisals, compared with one-third in the last year’s report.

Most of the people who reported facing reprisals for their cooperation with the Security Council and its peace operations, as well as with the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues did so on the condition of anonymity.

Algeria, Afghanistan, Andorra, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, France, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Maldives, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Qatar, the Russian Federation, South Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Yemen, and the State of Palestine are also on the list alongside Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2023


Continue Reading


Trump business empire under threat as New York fraud trial opens



Former US president Donald Trump will appear in a New York court on Monday as a civil fraud trial against him and two of his sons kicks off, with the case threatening the Republican’s business empire as he campaigns to retake the White House.

In Monday’s case, Judge Arthur Engoron has already ruled that Trump and his sons Eric and Don Jr committed fraud by inflating the value of the real estate and financial assets of the Trump Organization for years.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is now seeking $250 million in penalties and the removal of Trump and his sons from management of the family empire.

Trump said late Sunday he planned to be present for the start of the trial on Monday morning.

“I’m going to Court tomorrow morning to fight for my name and reputation,” the 77-year-old wrote on his Truth Social platform. “This whole case is a sham!!!”

In addition to this civil case, Trump also faces several major criminal proceedings in the months ahead.

He is scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Washington on March 4 on charges of trying to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election won by Joe Biden.

Trump will then be back in New York state court, this time on criminal hush money charges, and later in a Florida federal court, where he is accused of mishandling classified documents after leaving office.

Finally, he will also have to answer to state charges in Georgia, where prosecutors say Trump illegally tried to get the southern state’s 2020 election results changed in his favor.

In the New York civil case, Engoron ruled that Trump, his two eldest sons, and other Trump Organisation executives lied to tax collectors, lenders, and insurers for years in a scheme that exaggerated the value of their properties by $812 million to $2.2 billion between 2014 and 2021.


Continue Reading


Copyright © 2023 All Rights Reserved, Noor Marketing