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SC gives govt two weeks for defence:NAB chief

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court granted two weeks’ time to the government counsel on Friday to defend the appointment of National Accountability Bureau’s chairman.

If Abdul Hafeez Pirzada did not return from abroad the government should engage another counsel, A bench headed by Justice Javed Iqbal told the government lawyer.

The bench directed the attorney general to submit a concise statement on the matter.

Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq and Advocate M.S. Khattak sought time, informing the bench that the counsel for the federation was abroad.

The bench is hearing a constitutional plea by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, and a petition by Shahid Orakzai.

Chaudhry Nisar, in his plea moved through Mohammad Akram Sheikh, has said that the appointment had been made without consultation with the leaders of the house and the opposition and the chief justice. He said the requirement for consultation with the chief justice stood revived after the Asfandyar Wali Khan and NRO cases.

He prayed that Justice (retd) Syed Deedar Hussain Shah be asked to relinquish his office forthwith.

At the last hearing, petitioner Shahid Orakzai contended that the appointment was illegal because a retired judge of the apex court could not be appointed to the post.

After the court’s decision in Dr Mubashar Hassan’s case, the then NAB chairman Naweed Ahsan had resigned in February. But the resignation was not accepted till June 14 when Deputy Chairman Javed Qazi was notified as the acting chairman of NAB. The court declared this position illegal on Sept 1 and ordered a regular appointment within 30 days.

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