ISLAMABAD:(APS)April 28,2017-The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) has called a meeting on May 16 to examine a reference filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry proposing the ouster of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry.
The reference proposes the deposition of Chaudhry, whose capacity to head the national accountability watchdog was questioned during the Panamagate hearings.
The decision to file the reference under Article 209 was first announced on Friday.
“That the SJC has called a meeting on May 16 is a victory for PTI,” said Fawad Chaudhry.
The Panamagate verdict of April 20 directed that a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) be set up to probe the controversial financial dealings of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his sons.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court (SC) had received proposed names for the six officials who will eventually constitute the JIT. The JIT has been tasked to submit its findings from the probe within two months.
The JIT will include a member each from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), NAB, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI).
The PTI, however, vehemently opposes the idea of NAB’s Qamar Zaman Chaudhry being a part of the investigation, citing that the Panamagate verdict itself mentioned him as somebody who had failed to carry out his responsibilities as NAB chairman with due efficiency.
The NAB chairman first incurred the wrath of SC judge Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, when, during a hearing of the Panama case on February 21, Khosa remarked; “You could have looked into the Panamangate matter but you didn’t.”
The NAB Chairman had reportedly stuck to his stance: that he did not find the need to re-open the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, despite the fact that a Lahore High Court Judge had earlier expressed the need to do so.
The Panamagate verdict too pointed out that NAB and FIA had been less than competent in fulfilling their institutional obligations, necessitating the need for a JIT.
It remains to be seen if the SJC meeting will be as decisive as the PTI would hope for it to be, however, it is likely to give the NAB chairman reason enough to worry about his job.