While hearing a case related to ‘illegal’ appointments in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Supreme Court on Monday directed the anti-graft body and the Establishment Division (ED) to sort out the issue before the court intervenes, which may have an off-putting effect on the benefits being availed by the employees.
“The prime minister and the president can’t act in violation of rules. The prime minister does not have unlimited powers,” said Justice Amir Hani Muslim, who was heading a three-member bench, which took up the suo moto case regarding illegal appointment in the NAB.
The court was informed that Aliya Rashid had been inducted in NAB as she had won medals in tennis. Alia had been inducted in NAB by former prime minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali. Justice Qazi Faez Isa observed that action could be taken against the (former) PM under section 9 of the NAO for undue concession and dispensation.
Advocate Hafizur-Rehman, who represented Aliya, said that her client had won national and international medals and the then PM relaxing the rules inducted her in the NAB. Justice Hani questioned whether the prime minister is above the law. He said under 1973 Constitution the PM’s power was a trust and not a prerogative. “The competent authority could not relax rules for eligibility.”
The court said that those who have inherent disqualification should opt for the compulsory retirement; otherwise, they would pass the order. Khawaja Haris, representing the NAB, said that 689 cases of NAB employees had been scrutinised and inconstancies found in 133 cases, and of them, 35 have retired, while illegalities were found in 48 cases during the initial appointment.