The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday reserved the verdict on former prime minister Imran Khan’s petition challenging amendments to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law. Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial said a “short and sweet order” would be issued soon after the counsels completed arguments. During the hearing, the CJP observed that amendments to Section 23 of the NAB law were introduced in May and then again in June while the record of cases withdrawn as of May 2023 has also been received. “The NAB references withdrawn are indicative of the direction the law has taken,” he said. Replying to the three-member bench’s queries, PTI chief Imran Khan’s counsel Khawaja Haris apprised the court that after the amendments NAB holds no jurisdiction over the cases it has withdrawn, nor does it have the legal authority to forward these cases to any other forum. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah observed that there is no need for a law to refer cases to other forums. The references which have already been filed would have to be taken up by one forum or other to reach resolution, he said, adding that the court would certainly inquire about “authority” not being granted to refer cases. The reason given for submitting this petition before the SC was stated to be “accountability”, remarked Justice Shah. Why then was a serving army officer excluded, inquired the judge. He recalled that regarding the Asfandyar Wali case, the court was informed that the Army Act is available to deal with cases pertaining to military officers. “In this vein, the Civil Servants Act is present for the beauracracy and the Election Act is there for parliamentarians,” observed Justice Shah. At this, advocate Haris said that the petition has not challenged clause 5(m) of the existing NAB law, which grants exemption to serving army officers. In response to another question, advocate Haris said that the Civil Servants Act provides only for departmental action in cases pertaining to corruption not criminal punishments. The CJP inquired that if the Supreme Judicial Council removes a judge from his post as per Article 209 over concerns relating graft, then who will do the recovery. We are not looking at the petitioner’s conduct. We are only concerned with whether the legislation violates fundamental rights or public interest,” he said. The additional attorney general informed the court that the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) will submit his reply. Later, the court reserved its verdict and adjourned the hearing, with the CJP remarking that the bench would announce the date for the detailed verdict and issue a short order soon.