The judiciary and the executive in Pakistan were back on collision course with the Supreme Court on Thursday ordering the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file a reference within a week against the Prime Minister, Interior Minister and Pakistan Peoples Party secretary-general — for the questionable appointment of Tauqir Sadiq as chairman of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), and then allegedly facilitating his exit from the country, helping him avoid arrest.Angry with NAB for its failure to keep Mr. Sadiq in custody — despite arresting him in the UAE — the two-judge bench hearing the case asked the Bureau to file a fresh case against Premier Raja Parvez Ashraf, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and PPP secretary general Jahangir Badar. The Court had earlier declared illegal the appointment of Mr. Sadiq, against whom there are corruption allegations.
The directive against the PM came on a day when the Court began a probe into the death of an NAB Assistant Director Kamran Faisal last week. Faisal was one of the investigators looking into the Rental Power Plants (RPP) case in which the Court had ordered the arrest of the Premier last week.
While NAB refused to make the arrest on the premise that investigations had not been carried out, Faisal was found dead in Islamabad three days later.
Though it was reported to be a suicide case, subsequent disclosures revealed he had been under immense pressure because of the RPP case. With polls round the corner, the view that another stand-off between the judiciary and the executive is best avoided. This government has another month-and-a-half to go before the interim regime takes over and all eyes are now on the Supreme Court to see if it would send another Premier packing.