PHC Hinders Arrest of Six Policemen Allegedly Involved in Weapons Scam
PESHAWAR: A division bench of the Peshawar High Court extended the stay order restraining National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting six police officers on Wednesday for allegedly misappropriating funds in the notorious weapons scam.
The bench, headed by PHC Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, heard a writ petition filed by police officers, DIG Central Police Office Sajid Ali Khan, former AIGP operations Abdul Latif Khan Gandapur, former DIG telecommunication Sajid Kamal Orakzai, the then AIG establishment CPO Kashif Alam, former DIG headquarters Dr Suleman and the then AIGP and former Frontier Constabulary commandant Abdul Majeed Marwat.
Anwarul Haq, the petitioners’ lawyer, argued NAB issued an arrest warrant to his clients while the accountability court had declined to register an FIR against them. According to Haq, NAB should not have exceeded its authority and challenged the order of the trial court by issuing arrest warrants for petitioners when the high court had already dismissed the writ.
He said a case to this effect was pending at the trial court. Under these circumstances, there was an apex court judgment which stated the NAB chairman loses power to arrest suspects after a reference was filed. The power to arrest or summon suspects was then transferred to the court.
Haq argued the warrants were based on mala fide intentions as NAB’s point of view has been declared incorrect by three courts.
Khalid Mehmud, another lawyer representing the petitioners, argued there was no evidence against the petitioners and the bureau never clearly mentioned their role in the weapons scam case.
“If NAB wants to produce some evidence at an in-camera proceedings, it should know this is against constitutional norms,” said Mehmud.
The chief justice then asked Deputy Prosecutor General Jamil Saraf why arrest warrants were issued to petitioners after the reference had been filed at the court.
Saraf said the NAB chairperson had the authority to issue arrest warrants to any suspect at any time. However, as the petitioners’ lawyers requested the hearing to be adjourned, complete evidence will only be produced after the case was completely placed before the court.
When Saraf cited the judgment in the Abdul Rahim Marwat case, Haq turned it down saying, the situation differed completely in this case. The bench after hearing these arguments adjourned the case.
Property ownership rates
The same bench also heard a writ petition that challenged exorbitant rates being charged for the transfer of property ownership in Peshawar. It also directed the district government to redefine rates within a month prior to which old rates could be used.
PHC Bar Association former president Razaullah Khan Khalil and other lawyers challenged the rates being charged for transfer of property ownership in various villages. They argued the rates were too high due to which the process of transfer of property ownership had stopped, causing losses to the national exchequer. They requested the court to declare the rates void and order new rates.
After hearing the arguments, the court directed the district government to review the rates and specify a new amount within a month.
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