SC Bars Govt From Interfering in Cases Against PM Shehbaz and Family

The Supreme Court (SC), on Thursday, barred authorities from making new postings and transfers in high-profile cases in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against top government functionaries.

A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Umar Ata Bandial, heard the matter on Thursday.

During the course of the hearing, Justice Bandial expressed concerns over the mysterious death of FIA’s former director Mohammad Rizwan, who was probing the money laundering charges against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son CM Punjab Hamza Shehbaz.

The SC issued notices to the FIA director-general, NAB chairman, and the interior secretary and sought their explanation as to why there was interference in criminal cases.

The apex court also barred NAB and FIA from withdrawing cases till further orders.

On Wednesday, the Chief Justice took suo motu notice of perceived interference in the independence of the prosecution branch in the performance of its powers and duties of pending criminal matters involving persons in authority in the government today.

“It is apprehended that such perceived interference may influence the prosecution of cases, tampering/disappearing of evidence in courts or in possession of prosecuting agencies, and transfer/postings of officers on key posts,” a statement issued by the Supreme Court PRO department said.

It noted that such actions, along with media reports to modify accountability laws, are likely to undermine the functioning of the criminal justice system in the country and that tantamount to violation of fundamental rights affecting the society as a whole and eroding the confidence of the people in the rule of law and constitutionalism in the country.

The suo motu notice comes after the FIA refused to pursue the money laundering case against PM Shehbaz and his son Hamza any further. The indictment against both has been delayed since February.