Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Athar Minnallah, angrily dismissing the report submitted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), alleges that the NAB court was trying to defame and blackmail the judges of the High Court.
During the hearing of a request for pre-arrest bail by former federal minister Akram Khan Durrani, a NAB investigating officer (IO) reportedly alleged that some IHC judges And other judicial officers were given an illegal allotment of public housing.
In addition, Chief Justice Athar Minnallah also expressed gratitude for keeping the report secret by the NAB investigating officer.
The Chief Justice of the court remarked that the NAB included the names of the judges in the report for blackmail.
It may be recalled that in 2015, the Ministry of Housing and Works unilaterally allotted judicial officers and staff of the Islamabad High Court to government houses, including the brother of the then Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan.
His appointment was later declared illegal by the Supreme Court.
The said allotments were made in contravention of the law's suggestion that the Supreme Court's decision on the banning of the General Waiting List be imposed on all the courts, including the IHC, and that the allotment was in accordance with seniority. On the basis of which can only be done to government officials.
It further stated that as per the Residential Allocation Rules 2002, IHC employees could not be allotted public housing.
It may be recalled that the Ministry of Housing had also allotted government accommodation to Chief Justice Athar Minnallah and Justice Aamir Farooq.
Remember that the High Court Judges (Holidays, Pensions and Concessions) Order 1997 allowed the official residence for the High Court judges, but the NAB added the names of the IHC judges to their list of court officers. Who were given out-of-turn houses?
Chief Justice Athar Minnallah made it clear that he was allotted a government house on April 18, 2019, because the house he was allotted had not been vacated before.
The Chief Justice remarked that the list includes names of Supreme Court and High Court judges and officials.
He also asked the investigating officer why you have included the names of the senior judges of the Islamabad High Court in the report. Do you know how and when this allotment was made to the relevant judges?
The NAB's IO replied that their housing allotment was made under the allotment 1967.
"And you want to blackmail the High Court, no judge of this court can be blackmailed," the IHC Chief Justice remarked.
He remarked that if there is any contradiction then why did the NAB not submit a corruption reference against these judges to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC)?
He remarked that some other issues were brought to the notice of the court, but 'we are trying to ignore them'.
A bench comprising Justices Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb also expressed gratitude on the NAB report.
He remarked, "We respect Chairman NAB as a retired judge of the Supreme Court but there is a limit to his patience, for us, he is a public office holder."
He inquired whether the NAB intended to arrest Akram Durrani based on this report.
Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb further inquired that the IHC registrar and then Housing and Works Secretary were also responsible for the allotment, did the NAB arrest him?
He remarked, 'We do ourselves for accountability but will not allow anyone to defame the institution.
The bench referred the matter to the NAB chairman and adjourned the hearing till April 8