Implications of the Supreme Court Verdict in Pakistan

Islamabad – A three-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan has issued a verdict on the NAB amendments bill, with a 2-1 majority vote in favor. This verdict restores cases against public office holders that were previously withdrawn following amendments to the NAB Law bill.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ejaz ul Ahsan voted in favor of the petition presented by PTI Chief Imran Khan in 2022, while Justice Mansoor Ali Shah dissented. Notably, this decision was made on Chief Justice Bandial’s last day in office, sparking varied reactions across society.

Advocate Imran ul Haq, an expert in NAB matters, commented, “This decision reactivates the old law and dismisses the amendments made to the NAB Law bill. All politicians will now fall under the jurisdiction of NAB and undergo scrutiny. The parliamentary amendments have been rendered futile by this decision.”

Addressing the perception of NAB laws as draconian, Haq stated, “The laws are sound, but their implementation has been lacking, often being used for political vendettas. This decision may face challenges during the review process, especially if a full court is convened on September 18th. The new Chief Justice will lead the Supreme Court into a new era, and the outcome remains uncertain.”

Senior political analyst Sohail Warraich offered his perspective, saying, “The verdict appears perplexing. Initially, it seems like a victory for PTI and a loss for PML-N and PPP. However, in the long run, it may favor PML-N and PPP, as the current regime seems to be aligning with them. Ultimately, this verdict could be seen as a win for the establishment and may eventually work against PTI.”

Warraich also suggested, “This decision could face challenges in the days ahead, particularly when the new Chief Justice, Qazi Faez Essa, attempts to form a full bench on September 18.”

Reflecting on the outgoing CJP Bandial’s tenure, Sohail Warraich noted, “It was a rather perplexing tenure, marked by shifting alliances. He initially supported the PDM but later took a different stance.”

Senior Supreme Court reporter Hasnaat Malik shared his views, stating, “This majority judgment by the bench is likely to be overturned during the review process. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah’s remarks highlighted concerns about the bench’s composition, suggesting that it should have included five members.”

Moreover, Malik added, “I don’t believe it will significantly impact politicians, as the majority of cases against them were still in the investigation and inquiry stages.”

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