SCBA backs Baqar as head of NAB

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has announced its full support for the appointment of Justice (Retired) Maqbool Baqar as Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB),

SCBA President Ahsan Bhoon said The Express Grandstand that among all the nominees, Judge Baqar was the best choice for the post of head of the anti-corruption body.

“Judge Baqar was an asset to the justice system. His integrity is beyond doubt,” said the SCBA President, who urges the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition to finalize his name immediately.

Both groups of lawyers support Baqar’s appointment as head of the NAB.

Even a senior lawyer at PTI also believes that in his personal opinion, Judge Baqar is the best choice for the job.

It has been learned that the legal minds of the government are divided on his admissibility.

A government official fears that if there is a two-year ban on a retiring SC judge being appointed to public office, the judiciary could cancel their appointment on the matter.

Read more: Javed Iqbal’s term as NAB chairman comes to an end

On the other hand, a seasoned lawyer advised the government that there was no impediment to appointing an incumbent judge as NAB president, as it was a quasi-judicial office.

Several lawyers, who are big supporters of Judge Baqar, doubt that his appointment will be challenged in the Supreme Court.

They also fear that a section within the upper judiciary will give him a hard time. However, the composition of the bench will be important in the event of a challenge to his appointment.

Lawyers also believe that there are several superior court judges who greatly admire Judge Baqar. Likewise, it is very popular in the bar.

Previously, Judge Baqar was among the judges who delivered a verdict in favor of Judge Qazi Faez Isa in the latter’s case over the undeclared assets of his family members.

Judge Baqar in his farewell speech had raised questions about the exclusion of certain judges in important and sensitive cases.

It has been learned that a section of the government supports the nomination of Justice (retired) Dost Muhammad Khan for the position of NAB Chairman.

However, the appointment of the two retired judges could also be challenged by the security establishment.

A day earlier, Pakistan’s Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial warned the government to ensure that no “foreign” party influences the upcoming appointment.

He asked Pakistan’s Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali to appoint a man of integrity and ability to the post instead of giving favors in return.

The CJP’s remarks are significant in the context of the appointment of the NAB president. The lawyers, who witnessed Friday’s proceedings, believe the CJP was referring to “interference” by a business tycoon in the nomination process. However, a government official believes the Chief Justice was referring to establishment involvement.

It is a fact that the judiciary and the establishment have influence over the NAB and neither of them wants to minimize their role.

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