ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court Monday reserved its verdict over maintainability of a petition challenging the appointment of Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

A Division Bench (DB) of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted hearing of the petition moved by Riaz Hanif Rahi Advocate and reserved judgment in this matter after hearing arguments of his counsel.

During the hearing, Justice Athar Minallah remarked that anyone who has been accused is innocent until the case is proved against him in the court. He added that it is an internal matter of the parliament. The IHC CJ said it is a political matter and they could not ignore Article 69 of the Constitution.

The petitioner moved the court through his counsel G M Chaudhary Advocate and cited federation through secretary law, Prime Minister Imran Khan, secretary parliamentary affairs, secretary finance, auditor general of Pakistan, Speaker National Assembly and opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif, Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and others as respondents.

He adopted in the petition that Shehbaz’s appointment as the chairman of the committee is illegal while issuance of the PML-N leader’s production orders was also a violation of accountability laws and a reference should be prepared regarding the violation of Section 31 of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) ordinance.

The petitioner requested the court to direct the Punjab chief secretary to take Shehbaz into custody and hand over his custody to concerned law enforcing agency.

He contended that as long as there is a conflict of interest, Shehbaz should not be allowed to lead PAC and all benefits of being a PAC chairman should be revoked.

The petitioner prayed to the court that Shehbaz may be directed to show under which authority of the law and the constitution, he is chairing the meeting of the PAC in violation of provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure being an accused person when he is required to be detained in judicial custody, prison or prosecution’s custody under the relevant provisions of the laws.

He added that the court may also direct Speaker National Assembly to show under which authority of law and the Constitution, he has issued production order of Shehbaz Sharif when he is required to be kept in custody.

Therefore, he requested the court to set aside the production orders either issued by Speaker National Assembly or Shahbaz himself under provisions of the Rule 108 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly 2007 which are internal procedural rules and cannot override the provisions of the code of criminal procedure 1898.

The petitioner continued that Speaker National Assembly may be directed to ensure that Shehbaz may not participate in the proceedings of the National Assembly until he is having conflict of interest with beneficial legislation meant for general public and people of Pakistan as his oath does not provide participation of Shehbaz in legislative process when he is having implied or express conflict of interest.

He added that Speaker National Assembly may be directed for not making any payment of salary or perks and privileges to Shehbaz being the Chairman of PAC until conflict of interest with functions of the PAC is continuing.