ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan lashed out on Monday at the National Accountability Bureau for its “lack of professionalism, expertise and sincerity of cause,” which it said was the reason behind its abysmally low conviction rate. “It is because of lack of professionalism, expertise and sincerity of cause that the conviction rate in NAB cases is abysmally low,” the two-member bench wrote in its judgment in the Paragon City corruption case against Khawaja Saad Rafique and Khawaja Salman Rafique. The Supreme Court said that NAB failed to prove the control of Khawaja Saad Rafique and Khawaja Salman Rafique on Paragon City. In its written 87-pages judgment in Paragon City corruption case against Khawaja Saad Rafique and Khawaja Salman Rafique, the apex court stated that there were discrepancies between the reference and the investigation report. The judgment stated that unfortunately 72 years have passed since Pakistan was formed and 47 years have passed since the constitution of Pakistan was made but even today the people are not getting their rights given in the constitution. The top court stated that democratic values, respect, tolerance, transparency and principles of equality are ridiculed, while intolerance, nepotism, lying, bullying and self-promotion have become priorities. The apex court remarked that corruption has completely entrenched in Pakistani society, while egoism and self-righteousness have taken root in society. In its judgment, the Supreme Court has remarked that the accountability laws in the country were used as tools to change the loyalties of politicians, and for “splintering” and “fracturing” political parties. The Supreme Court, while questioning the NAB’s intervention in Paragon City, said in its decision that it was not clear why the anti-graft watchdog had initiated proceedings in the case. The top court further asked if the NAB received a complaint of non-delivery of plots or something came up in the investigation. The judgment further added that the NAB’s methods didn’t serve national interests but caused “irretrievable harm to the country, nation and society in multiple ways”. “The NAB Ordinance from its very inception became increasingly controversial, its image has come under cloud and there is a widespread perception of it being employed as a tool for oppression and victimization of political opponents by those in power,” the judgment read. “The bureau seems reluctant in proceeding against people on one side of the political divide even in respect of financial scams of massive proportion while those on the other side are being arrested and incarcerated for months and years without providing any sufficient cause even when the law mandates investigations to be concluded expeditiously and trial to be concluded within 30 days,” the top court said in its judgment. The court referred to a recent review of the European Commission in which it said that: There was a serious deterioration of freedom in Pakistan, thus, raising concerns about the NAB’s role as a tool to muzzle dissent. In March, the bench comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel had granted bail to the two PML-N leaders in the case. They had approached the apex court after the Lahore High Court had rejected their post-arrest bail. The PML-N leaders were arrested in December 2018.
ISLAMABAD: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for strict international regulation of spyware in the wake of the “Pegasus Project” revelations...Read more