The Supreme Court of Pakistan struck down amendments to the National Accountability Law on Friday. The amendments had been challenged by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan.
Chief Justice of Pakistan anounced the 2-1 decision of allowing Khan’s petition, with Justice Mansoor Ali Shah dissenting.
The judegment said that all cases against public office holders that had been closed by the amendments would be reopened. The judgement will restore all the accountability cases against a host of politicians. The judgement has added that all such cases should be reopened within seven days.
All decisions handed by accountability courts under the amended law have also been declared null and void.
The decision also struck down a clause that had said that cases involving less than Rs500 million would not be seen by NAB.
Clauses regarding plea bargains and shifting the burden of proof to the prosecution have also been declared void.
The decision also strikes down changes in definitions of assets beyond means and benami properties.
The judgement comes on the last workday of Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial’s tenure. A total of 53 hearings were held in the case.
Reserving the judgment on September 5, CJP Bandial had said that the court will hand down a ‘short and sweet’ judgement before his retirement.
A notice issued on Friday morning said that a three-member bench consisting of Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah would announce the decision at 12:15 pm. The time was later changed to 12:30pm.
The case is based on a petition filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan in 2022 against the amendment passed by the parliament during the Pakistan Democratic Movement government’s tenure. The decision was announced after a total of 53 hearings.
The NAB amendments had restricted the bureau’s powers to probe corruption to only include cases involving atleast Rs500 million. The las had also reduced the tenure of the bureau’s chairman and ordered that pending inquiries should be transferred to relevant authorities.
Imran Khan had said in the petition that the amendments had been brought to legitimise corruption and provide benefit to ‘influential’ personalities.