PM Shehbaz's 'black sheep' remark riles SC judges

PM Shehbaz's 'black sheep' remark riles SC judges


Embattled Imran shares ordeal with SC during NAB amendment case hearing

  • The PTI founder complained he lacks facility to prepare himself for the case
  • Justices Mandokhail and Athar Minallah let loose their indignation at PM Shehbaz's recent remarks
  • Court will continue to hear the case
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ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The Supreme Court on Thursday resumed hearing on the National Accountability (NAB) Ordinance 1999 amendment case. 

Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa heads the five-member bench which also includes Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi. 

Imran Khan, the incarcerated founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), joined the proceedings via video link from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail. His request seeking personal appearance in the case is pending with the apex court.  

The former prime minister finally got an opportunity to interact with Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and informed him about difficulties he had been facing in seeking legal assistance about the case. 

He said he was kept in solitary confinement and had no facility to prepare himself for the case. 

CJP Qazi Faez Isa said no one should be disallowed such a facility. 

The court had, during the previous hearing on May 17, issued orders for presenting the PTI founder through video link on the next hearing scheduled for May 30 [today].  

During the previous hearing, the PTI founder did not get an opportunity to advance arguments. 

Like the hearing of May 17, Thursday's hearing was not live streamed either.  


Two of the judges also took exception to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent diatribe against the judiciary as they said the premier should move a reference if he saw any ‘black sheep’ in courts. 

Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail asked what wrong judges had done that the prime minister went on to denigrate them. 

“Why do parliamentarians use the shoulders of the judiciary to settle their scores and why are court judgements appreciated if they are in someone’s favour and criticised if not,” questioned Justice Mandokhail. 

He also said the NAB law was the “biggest problem” for parliamentarians as they were at the receiving end but it was up to parliament whether or not to retain the piece of legislation. 

At this point, the attorney general said the prime minister had made it clear that he had never referred to the “sitting judges” of the superior courts. 

Justice Athar Minallah remarked, “the judges are not black sheep but black bumble-bees (which clearly showed his indignation).”  

The court later adjourned the case (a date will be announced later). 


During the previous hearing, CJP Isa remarked that if ordinances were to be introduced, then parliament should be dissolved. 

“Through ordinances, the will of one person is imposed on the entire nation. Isn't this against democracy? Shouldn't the president of the country provide detailed justifications along with the ordinances,” he stated. 

At the outset of the proceedings, senior lawyer Khawaja Haris appeared before the court, informing that he would assist with the matter. 

Advancing his arguments, federal government’s lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan told the bench that the NAB amendment case was sub judice before the Islamabad High Court.

CJP Isa inquired how this case became admissible in the Supreme Court while being under hearing in the high court. 

CJP Isa remarked that it was quite astonishing that the NAB amendments case went on for 53 hearings. 

Continuing his arguments, lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan mentioned that in the follow up to 2022 ordinance, amendments were made in 2023, but the court struck down the 2022 amendments in its decision. 

At this, the chief justice remarked, "So, you're raising technical objections," to which lawyer Makhdoom Ali responded, "These technical objections also exist." 

Justice Isa stated that “We will ask the PTI founder about these questions. Please take note of these points, PTI founder.” While making this remark, the chief justice smiled subtly, and upon seeing this, the PTI founder also smiled covering his face with his hand. 

Lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan stated that the PTI founder could have changed the law during his stint as the prime minister, but instead, ordinances were introduced. 

“The matter of NAB amendments was a parliamentary dispute which was brought to the Supreme Court through collusion. This was a national issue which was brought to the Supreme Court,” the lawyer went on to say. 

At this point, the court prohibited Makhdoom Ali Khan from using such language.

Justice Mandokhail inquired whether any member of a party could vote against their party's decision on a bill. 

The chief justice said there was an application for reconsideration on this matter. 

Justice Minallah stated that it was necessary to have a strong parliament, independent judiciary and fearless leaders against corruption. “Do you think these three things exist? Here, instead of ending it, another ordinance is being introduced.” 

The chief justice stated that if ordinances are to be introduced, then parliament should be dissolved. “Through ordinances, the will of one person is imposed on the entire nation. Isn't this against democracy? Shouldn't the president of the country provide detailed justifications along with the ordinances,” he added. 

Justice Minallah observed that strengthening parliament was the job of politicians. 

Later, the court adjourned the hearing indefinitely, subject to availability of judges on the bench. 


The amendments made to the NAB Ordinance 1999 not only reduced the four-year term of bureau’s chairman and the prosecutor general to three years, but also placed all regulatory bodies functioning in the country out of NAB’s domain. 

Under the amended law, the term of accountability court judge was set at three years and the court was bound to decide a case within one year.

The PTI founder in his petition prayed that the amendments be struck down on grounds that they were unconstitutional. He argued that amendments to sections 2, 4, 5, 6, 25 and 26 of the NAB law are against the constitution, along with amendments made to sections 14, 15, 21 and 23.

He contended that amendments to the law are contrary to the fundamental rights under articles 9, 14, 19, 24, 25.

A three-member bench was formed on July 15, 2022. The first hearing of the case against the NAB amendments was held on July 19 after Advocate Khawaja Haris filed an application under Article 184/3 against the NAB Ordinance amendments.

Both the federation and NAB were made parties in the petition.