Following the Supreme Court’s decision in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) legislation revisions case, reported on Saturday that approximately 2,000 graft cases — including those at the reference, complaint verification, inquiry, and investigation levels — are expected to be restored.
With a 2-1 majority, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court led by outgoing Chief Justice Umar Bandia struck down some of the previous coalition government’s amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999, declaring them to be in violation of constitutional rights pertaining to public interest.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan had objected to the revisions to accountability laws.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, a number of cases, including those against former President Asif Ali Zardari, six former Prime Ministers — Nawaz Sharif, Shaukat Aziz, Yousuf Raza Gillani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Shehbaz Sharif — and former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, are expected to be restored.
The Toshakhana references would be reopened against Zardari, Nawaz, and Gillani. The LNG references against Abbasi, on the other hand, have been reintroduced as has the rental power reference against Ashraf. The accountability court had transferred all of these references.
According to reports, 755 of the 2000 cases were returned at the inquiry stage and 292 at the investigation stage, with around 510 instances involving assets worth less than Rs500 million and 168 cases involving assets with no known source of income.
Similarly, 213 instances have been restored under Section 9A, with 89 examples including fraud.
The NAB is still awaiting the complete judgment, and its prosecution branch is hard at work assembling the data that will be handed to the chairman after it has been compiled.
According to the sources, the legal issue was that the NAB prosecution branch was left without a leader following the resignation of Justice (retd) Syed Asghar Haider as prosecutor general accountability, and his successor has yet to be nominated.
Furthermore, NAB Balochistan had already suggested to NAB headquarters a few months ago that an investigation into Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar be closed due to a lack of evidence.
According to sources, it had requested formal authorisation from the NAB headquarters to close the investigation.