Ministry rejects Judge Bashir’s leave request

The leave request of Islamabad Accountability Court-I Judge Muhammad Bashir – who is adjudicating several high-profile cases – was rejected on Saturday.

He had sought leave from his duties on medical grounds from January 24 until his retirement. The judge is set to hang up his robes on March 14.

However, the Ministry of Law and Justice did not approve his request. The judge, following the denial, withdrew his application.

Earlier, the judge expressed his position that he could not perform his duties due to his deteriorating health.

Judge Bashir is hearing the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) references filed against former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, for the alleged misuse of the official gifts repository and their role in a mega scandal involving £190 million.

Additionally, the high-profile case against former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Yousaf Raza Gilani and former president Asif Ali Zardari regarding Toshakhana cars is also under hearing in his court.

He is also hearing a fake account case against Zardari and the NAB reference against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

In July 2018, Judge Muhammad Bashir had pronounced sentences against former Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and son-in-law Captain Safdar in the Avenfield reference. The IHC overturned the verdict last year, on November 29.

Judge Muhammad Bashir, appointed in 2012 during the tenure of then PM Gilani, has served for an unusually extended period. Although accountability court judges are typically appointed for three years, Judge Bashir has been serving in the NAB court for eleven years.

His tenure has seen appointments by former PMs Nawaz Sharif in 2018 and Imran Khan in 2021.

Judge Bashir’s courtroom has witnessed the appearances of four prime ministers – Raja Pervez Ashraf, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Nawaz Sharif, and Imran Khan – marking a unique and historically significant aspect of his judicial career.

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