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Pakistan's top court restores corruption cases against public office holders

Pakistan's top court restores corruption cases against public office holders

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD (AA) – Pakistan's top court on Friday struck down some crucial amendments introduced by the outgoing government in the anti-corruption laws, restoring corruption cases against politicians and officials.

The verdict, announced by Pakistan’s Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, ordered the restoration of corruption cases against public office holders that were withdrawn or returned to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after the amendments during the previous Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) government led by former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The verdict was reserved by a three-member bench on Sept. 5.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan had challenged the amendments in June last year.

In its verdict, the top court declared some amendments in the accountability law contrary to the country’s constitution and ordered to restore all those cases in accountability courts which were withdrawn after the amendments last year.

“All cases that were below Rs500 million ($1.7 million) and were returned to NAB or withdrawn from accountability courts, will be restored from today," Shoaib Shaheen, Khan's lawyers, told reporters outside the court.

The outgoing PDM government made several amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 last year, including limiting the NAB to handle corruption cases involving Rs500 million or more.

Legal experts opine that after Friday’s verdict, cases against several top politicians, including former president and prime ministers, will be restored in the accountability courts.

Last month, the apex court also struck down the Review of Judgements and Orders Act 2023 and termed it unconstitutional.

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