ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday decided to file a review petition against the Supreme Court (SC) verdict in the NAB amendment case.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on September 15 struck down amendments made to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws as it announced its reserved verdict on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman’s plea.

In a majority 2-1 verdict, the top court approved Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s petition challenging amendments made to the country’s accountability laws during the tenure of the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government.

Sources say that the review petition will be filed in the top court next week. The law ministry has also started preparing a draft of a review petition.

The three-member bench, headed by then CJP Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ijazul Ahsan had reserved judgment on September 5.

Ex-CJP Bandial and Justice Ahsan declared Imran’s plea to be maintainable while Justice Shah disagreed with the verdict.

The top court also restored graft cases against public office holders that were closed down following the amendments to NAB laws.

Following the verdict, the references against some of the country’s political bigwigs will once again land in the accountability courts.

These include the Toshakhana reference against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Supremo Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan People’s Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, LNG reference against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, rental power reference against former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and assets beyond means case against former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

In June 2022, the former premier had moved the apex court against amendments made to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) ordinance under the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act 2022.

NAB law amendment

The NAB (Second Amendment) Bill 2021 states that NAB’s deputy chairman, to be appointed by the federal government, would become the acting chairman of the bureau following the completion of the tenure of the chairman.

The bill has also reduced the four-year term of the NAB chairman. After approval of the law, NAB will not be able to act on federal, provincial or local tax matters.

It has also set a three-year term for the judges of the accountability courts. Under the proposed law, it has been made binding upon NAB to ensure the availability of evidence against an accused prior to his or her arrest.

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