The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has “reopened” the assets-beyond-means case against former finance minister and senior PML-N leader Ishar Dar. This decision comes in the wake of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) declaring recent amendments to the anti-corruption laws as null and void. After submitting the assets’ record, Judge Mohammad Bashir summoned Dar to appear before the court on October 7.
In a separate development in Karachi, Dr. Asim and eight others have also been directed to appear in court on the same date. These decisions stem from a 2-1 verdict by a three-member SC bench, which upheld PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s petition challenging the accountability law amendments by the previous PDM-led government. The SC’s verdict has mandated reopening all graft cases worth under Rs500 million against political leaders and officials and has declared the amendments void.
Controversy Over NAB Amendments
The amendments in the NAB laws brought several changes, including reducing the term of the NAB chairman and the bureau’s prosecutor general from four to three years and excluding various regulatory bodies from the NAB’s jurisdiction. It also proposed a three-year term for accountability court judges, mandating them to conclude cases within a year.
PTI’s Imran Khan challenged these amendments in the SC, contending they were unconstitutional and against various articles of the Constitution. A special three-member bench was formed in July 2022 to address Khan’s plea. The initial hearing of the case against the NAB amendments began on July 19, 2022, following the submission of an application by Khan’s lawyer, Khawaja Haris. Both the federation and NAB were included as respondents in the petition.