Nawaz may be held if he returns ‘sans’ transit bail

Federal Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar on Tuesday said PML-N supreme leader and former premier Nawaz Sharif could be arrested on his return to the country if did not secure a transit bail.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, the minister added that ex-premier Benazir Bhutto has also secured a  transit bail when she came back to Pakistan.

Speaking about former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s return to the country, Tarar said the law would take its course and "he will be facilitated in line with the rules and regulations".

He added that Musharraf’s case should be wrapped up as soon as possible and the matter of the early hearing of his case might come up in the cabinet.

Speaking about his party chief’s return, Tarar said if Nawaz failed to secure a transit bail, then he would have to surrender himself. “The courts should provide [relief] to the people who are handing themselves over to the law voluntarily.”

The minister claimed that the previous PTI regime wanted to appoint a retired judge as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman.

However, he added that the current government would appoint a serving judge as the NAB chairman.

He elaborated that a NAB chief would not be hired for a second term.

He informed the media that the tenure of a NAB chief would be three years and the deputy chairman would act in his full capacity during his leave or absence.

He said the courts in its judgments had repeatedly stated that the initial burden of proof would remain with the prosecution as it was also included in Islamic law and a principle of common law.

Discussing the NAB’s role on inquiry, he said six months time was proposed for probing a case, as police took 17 days for an investigation.

“If the institution needs more time then it should seek permission from the competent court."
Tarar further said the NAB's remand time was being reduced to 14 days from its current 90 as that was against the dignity of human beings and useless.

“In the new amendment, NAB would debarred from pretrial incarceration."

The minister claimed that the current government had introduced amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance,1999 in light of the judgments announced by the Supreme Court and high courts.

He said the interpretation of NAB laws and some procedural changes were made in the amendments.

He added that the National Assembly had passed the NAB amendment bill after a four-hour lengthy debate as different MNAs had filed their motions in their individual capacities to insert some amendments to the law.

When the president returned the bill despite the passage from the Senate with advice and message that some clauses should be revisited, the government thoroughly read and discussed the advice of the president with the legal experts and addressed some of his objections.

He said the president had no objection on 80% of the amendments as they were introduced by previous PTI regime in November last year. However, he added that the president had suggested revisiting 20% of the changes. “The government thoroughly read and discussed the advice of the president with legal experts and addressed some of his objections.”

(With input from APP)

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