NAB to request review of Hudabiya verdict

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is all set to file a review petition on Saturday (today) against the Supreme Court decision that dismissed its plea for reopening the 17-year-old Hudabiya Paper Mills case, sources in the NAB told The Express Tribune.

Sources also revealed that a 40-page review petition has been drafted by special prosecutor Imran-ul-Haq, adding that more than two dozen grounds are being taken under consideration.

It is learnt that the NAB has mainly contended that the views of Panamagate’s larger bench and the three-judge bench- which dismissed the appeal- are conflicting as they go against each other.

SC seeks complete records of Hudabiya Paper Mills case

A senior official revealed that the NAB will not immediately make a request for the constitution of a larger bench, adding that such a plea would be moved later.

A senior NAB official said the court wrongly endorsed the LHC’s 2014 order to discard former finance minister Ishaq Dar’s confession regarding his involvement in money laundering for the Sharifs.

He admitted that there was a very limited scope for review as the same three-judge bench was hearing the case.

The legal team of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has already decided to assist the NAB’s team in the case.

Interestingly, the NAB is going to file the petition without an approval of the prosecutor general as the federal government has yet to appoint one.

On the other hand, NAB former deputy prosecutor general Raja Amir Abbas said, “It is a fit case of review as there are several law points which need to be further considered by the apex court.”

He said there were two views regarding the LHC’s 2014 verdict to quash the Hudabiya Paper Mills reference.

“One view is expressed by two judges – justices Asif Saeed Khosa and Gulzar Ahmed – in the April 20 Panamagate verdict. They wrote that soundness of the reasons prevailing with the LHC for quashing the reference was ‘suspected’. On the other hand, the recent verdict has completely backed the LHC’s reasoning for quashing the reference against the Sharif family. In view of these two opinions, it will be appropriate that a larger bench is constituted to hear the matter,” he added.

Raja said in criminal cases the court could not close the door for reinvestigation and the case could be reopened on the basis of new evidence. A constitutional petition can also be filed under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, he said, adding that Justice Khosa had rightly interpreted the law on this point.

NAB appointment must for Hudabiya review plea

Legal wizards have begun comparing the Hudabiya verdict with the Panamagate ruling.

Pakistan Bar Council (PBA) member Raheel Kamran Sheikh said the two verdicts reflected two different realities in Pakistan.

“The Panamagate verdict highlights corruption in the political elite and how they use state machinery to their advantage while the Hudabiya case judgment depicts how accountability has been historically used for political engineering by non-democratic powers,” he added.

Sheikh said what emerged as a reality in these two perspectives was the absence of a strong, independent, effective and fair system of accountability in the state.


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