ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Friday dismissed petition of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan against the appointment of Qamar Zaman Chaudhry as chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

A three-member comprising Justice Nasirul Mulk, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Amir Hani Muslim heard the case for four days. Justice Mulk headed the bench.

Hamid Khan, Aitzaz Ahsan, Khawaja Harris and Qamar Afzal represented Imran Khan, Opposition Leader in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, the federation, and incumbent NAB chairman respectively and argued the case at length.

Justice Mulk on completion of their arguments said, "The petition is dismissed."

Major (Retd) Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, former federal interior Secretary, was appointed as NAB chairman on October 10, 2013 after the dismissal of then chairman Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bukhari.

Imran in his application contented that Chaudhry's name should not have been discussed by the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition as he was not a retired person when his name was considered for NAB chairman. Section 6 (ba) (iii) of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 says: "A person should not be appointed as NAB chairman unless he is a retired federal government officer in BPS-22 or equivalent."

Chaudhry retired from the position of federal interior secretary after his selection and the process was hastily completed within 24 hours, Hamid Khan pleaded before the court. The other objection of PTI's chief was that the president was not consulted as per section 6 of NAO.

The court noted if the president was not agreed then why did he sign on the notification for appointment of Chaudhry as NAB chief.

The president should have consulted all the opposition parties, particularly PTI as it is the second largest party in terms of number of votes it obtained in the 2013 general election, Hamid contended before the bench. He also raised objection that contempt proceedings were pending in the Supreme Court against Chaudhry and a show cause notice had been issued to him in the NICL scam.

Aitzaz pleaded that it was wrong that the name of a civil servant could not be considered for appointment of NAB chairman before retirement, as there was no bar in law about it. Zaman was appointed NAB chairman after the retirement, he added.

The counsel of Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah argued that there were two aspects for the prime minister for the appointment of NAB chairman, first as a consultee under Section 6 of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999, and the second was to advise the president under Article 48 of the constitution.

According to NAO 1999, the chairman NAB is to be appointed by the president in consultation with the leader of the house and the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, but in this case the president did not consult the opposition leader, the court observed.

Aitzaz pleaded that after 18th Amendment the president has to act on the advice of the prime minister, adding the PM had consulted the leader of the opposition.

Khawaja Harris, representing the federation, said that the NICL case was not relevant because Chaudhry was not party to the case. Moreover, the show cause notice of contempt was issued in a suo moto case. He said Chaudhry had filed reply to the notice, adding the case was still pending and intra-court appeal had been filed and the charges had not been framed yet.

He said once a person is appointed as chairman NAB then he could only be removed under Article 209. Justice Osmany remarked but Justice (Retd) Deedar Hussain Shah and Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bukhari were removed on the orders of the Supreme Court. Harris said that their appointments were set aside by the court but Chaudhry's case was different.

Qamar Afzal, counsel for NAB chairman, said that ministry of commerce, NAB and FIA had investigated the appointment of Ayyaz Niazi as NICL chairman and had cleared his client. He added that his client was not found responsible for appointment of Niazi as NICL chairman.