Hudaibya case: SC dismisses NAB’s ‘baseless’ request for adjournment of proceedings

Hudaibya case: SC dismisses NAB’s ‘baseless’ request for adjournment of proceedings

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The Supreme Court on Monday expressed its displeasure with the arguments presented by the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) lawyer and dismissed an application filed by the bureau seeking an adjournment of proceedings in the Hudaibya Paper Mills reference until its new prosecutor general is appointed.

The application, which was filed by NAB on Saturday, was dismissed soon after a three-judge SC bench ─ comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel ─ resumed hearing the NAB appeal against the 2014 decision of the Lahore High Court to quash the Rs1.2 billion reference.

NAB had requested that today’s hearing be adjourned until the office of the NAB prosecutor general ─ which has been vacant since the retirement of Waqas Qadeer Dar in November ─ is filled.

“The office of the NAB prosecutor is vacant and it will be appropriate that a prosecutor appears in the court for such an important case,” the bureau’s lawyer, Imranul Haq, argued before the court on Monday.

The bench, however, observed that the reason provided by the bureau for an adjournment had no basis, expressing its displeasure with the lawyer’s argument and the adjournment application.

“Do not ridicule the court,” Justice Isa said. “Why shouldn’t we initiate contempt of court proceedings against you? Every case is high-profile for us,” the judge told the lawyer.

“We have nothing to do with the appointment of the prosecutor,” Justice Alam said.

Justice Isa asked the lawyer on whose recommendation the application for adjournment had been filed.

The lawyer replied that the decision was taken during a meeting over which the bureau’s chairman presided.

“In that case, why don’t we call the chairman to appear before the court?” Justice Isa said.

The court after announcing its verdict on NAB’s application went into recess. The hearing is expected to resume shortly.

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