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Supreme Court bars transfers,appointments Restricts withdrawal of cases

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday barred authorities from transferring and making new appointments in high-profile cases related to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as well as those heard by special courts.

The orders came from the top court during the hearing in a suo motu case on the perceived apprehension of “persons in authority” undermining the criminal justice system.

During the hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial expressed concerns over transfers and appointments in high-profile cases refraining prosecution from withdrawing such cases.

A five-judge larger bench, comprising CJP Bandial and Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Ali Akbar, and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar heard the case and issued notices to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director-general, NAB chairman, and interior secretary.

The chief justice noted that several officers were transferred from NAB Lahore and FIA, adding that the FIA’s prosecutor in Lahore High Court was also replaced. The court further maintained that DG FIA Sanaullah Abbasi and director Rizwan were also replaced.

Referring to Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz’s case, CJP Bandial mentioned that the DG FIA barred one of the investigation officers to appear before the court.

“Nobody should interfere during the investigation and prosecution branch,” the chief justice told the attorney-general.

The hearing for the case has been adjourned till next Friday (May 27). A day earlier, CJP Ata Bandial took the notice of perceived interference in the “independence of the prosecution branch in the performance of its powers and duties for the investigation and prosecution of pending criminal matters involving persons in authority in the government”.

The chief justice took notice of the perceived interference on the recommendations of a judge belonging to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the statement issued by the apex court said.

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