Relief to Pakistan PM Shahbaz Sharif, accountable courts return 50 big corruption cases. Pakistan News PM Shahbaz Sharif get Relief court sends 50 corruption cases back to NAB

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 Relief to Pakistan PM Shahbaz Sharif, accountable courts return 50 big corruption cases.  Pakistan News PM Shahbaz Sharif get Relief court sends 50 corruption cases back to NAB


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Pakistan PM Shahbaz Sharif

Pakistan News: In a major relief to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who is facing multiple corruption charges, the accountability courts of Pakistan have returned 50 major corruption cases against Shahbaz and other suspects to the National Accountability Bureau. Accountability courts have also referred cases against Shahbaz, his son and former Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf and former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani back to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Geo News reported on Saturday that the relief has been provided as per the amendment in the NAB laws.

NAB had registered a corruption case against Shahbaz and his son

The reference to Ramzan Sugar Mill against Shahbaz and his son Hamza is also among the sent back cases. In February 2019, the NAB had registered this corruption case against Shahbaz and his son Hamza. The apex anti-corruption body alleged that during his tenure as Punjab chief minister, Shahbaz abused his authority and committed irregularities with respect to the Ramzan sugar mill owned by his sons. The NAB alleged that the two suspects fraudulently and dishonestly caused a loss of 213 million Pakistani rupees (about $948,565) to the national exchequer.

USF case against PPP MP Yusuf Raza Gilani also withdrawn

Similarly, an accountability court sent back six Rental Power Plant (RPP) cases against the Speaker of the National Assembly to the NAB. The bureau had alleged that Ashraf had misused his position for these projects when he was water and power minister during the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government. The Universal Services Fund (USF) case against PPP MP Yousuf Raza Gilani was also withdrawn. In the case, he was accused of misusing his position in an illegal campaign. The Modarba scam and company fraud cases have also been withdrawn from the accountability courts after the amendment in the NAB rules.

Such matters are related to people associated with the coalition government led by PM Shahbaz.

A federal government source on Saturday revealed that almost all such cases pertain to people belonging to the coalition government led by Prime Minister Shahbaz. The source said it is unlikely that the new NAB chief will refer these corruption cases to other forums like the anti-corruption body. The new NAB chief was appointed on behalf of Shahbaz and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Raja Riaz. The source said, “It appears that these references to corruption are being closed as NAB is in no hurry to send them to the relevant legal forums for action. When contacted, NAB spokesperson Nadeem Khan said, All such cases will be decided in accordance with the law.

Farooq Hameed, former director of NAB, Punjab, earlier told Dawn newspaper that it would have been better for the government to close the bureau instead of introducing such a law to defame it. “It is impossible to hold the corrupt elite accountable now. Why should the government allocate billions of rupees in the budget for NAB when it has changed the law to ensure that the looted by the corrupt,” he said. Billions of rupees cannot be recovered.”

‘The burden of proof has been shifted to the one who reports corruption to the Bureau’

In August, the National Assembly passed the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022, which seeks to keep private transactions out of the purview of the NAB. Under the amended bill, the economic jurisdiction of the NAB was fixed to act only against big scams. It also proposed that supplementary cases could be filed only with the permission of the court to expedite the court proceedings within one year. According to a former NAB prosecutor, the biggest change in the NAB laws is that the burden of proof has been shifted to whoever reports corruption to the bureau.

Since coming to power, the Shahbaz-led government has amended the NAB Act.

“The accountability courts have asked the NAB president to refer these references to a relevant forum and it could be ACE, a special court of the FIA, or in some cases a sessions court,” said former NAB Punjab Prosecutor General Chaudhry Khalikuj Zaman. Since coming to power, the Shahbaz-led government has amended the NAB Act and not only limited the jurisdiction of the anti-corruption watchdog, but also prohibited surveillance through agencies. Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has alleged that the Shahbaz-led government has changed the NAB laws only to benefit him (Shahbaz), his family and other leaders who have been named in various corruption cases.

Khan has challenged these amendments in court. According to ‘The Express Tribune’ newspaper, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Babar Awan said that the institution of accountability has ended, as 95 per cent of NAB cases have ended due to changes in law. He said that the accused involved in corruption cases allegedly worth around 2,400 billion rupees ($108 million) have got relief.

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