Banami accounts verdict disappoints PPP

Islamabad: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Tuesday expressed disappointment over the rejection of the review petitions in the benami(unnamed) accounts case and called for an early determination of the limits of suo moto powers of the Supreme Court. Secretary General of the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians Farhatullah Babar, in a statement, said that the points raised in the review petition particularly with regard to the limitations on exercise of suo moto powers are of fundamental importance and calls for a parliamentary debate on the determination of limits of these powers. He also recalled the interview of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Munich the other day underlining that he had not been given an opportunity to present his point of view in a court of law in the said case which, he said, was a negation of the constitutionally guaranteed right to fair trial under Article 10-A of the Constitution. Suo moto notice was taken by the Supreme Court on the ground of slackness in investigations in the case, he said. Bilawal had in his petition questioned whether slackness in the progress of a case constituted a valid ground for use of suo moto powers. The First Information Report had been registered, investigations were continuing, preliminary report had been finalized and the case was proceeding in banking court, he said. That is why the review petition also urged the Supreme Court to constitute a larger bench to address the constitutional issue of limits of suo mot powers, Farhatullah Babar said. He said that the Supreme Court was the highest court of appeal against which there was no appeal. “When it decides a case by taking a suo moto notice the aggrieved is left with no forum to appeal the verdict,” he added. Babar said absence of a forum for appeal was against the basic principle of justice and therefore it is all the more necessary to revisit the procedure for taking up cases under suo moto powers. The PPP however, has always respected Court verdicts even if it disagreed with them, he said. The PPP leader said the party will work towards a parliamentary debate on Article 184 (3) of the Constitution with a view to making legislation for a determination of the powers under suo moto jurisdiction.