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SC stops transfers, fresh postings in high-profile criminal cases

Apex court issues notices to FIA director general, NAB chairman and interior secretary

The Supreme Court on Thursday stopped authorities from making fresh appointments and transferring officials linked in “high-profile” and National Accountability Bureau cases along with the ones being heard by special courts.

These directives come as a five-judge larger bench took up the suo motu case on the understanding that criminal justice might be compromised by the people in positions of authority.

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The bench consisted of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar.

The court also issued directives to the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency, the chairman NAB and the interior secretary. The court called on the parties to explain as to why there was “meddling” in criminal cases. The court also issued notices to all the provincial prosecutor generals along with the FIA’s legal director.

The CJ remarked that there should be “no interference in the prosecution process or the prosecution wing”.

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The CJ observed that FIA’s former director Mohammad Rizwan, who was investigating money laundering charges against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz, was also transferred and afterwards passed away of a heart attack.

“We are concerned over these developments,” the chief justice said. He also stated that according to news reports, “thousands” of people had profited after their names were taken off the no-fly list.

Subsequently, the court barred the FIA and the NAB from taking back cases till further orders. The hearing was later adjourned till May 27.

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