Pakistan: IHC restores 10-year disqualification for accountability law convicts


ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) restored on Thursday the 10-year disqualification period for those convicted under the Natio­nal Accountability Ordinance (NAO) and suspended the earlier ruling limiting the same to five years.

The appeal by the accountability watchdog was presided over by a division bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz.

The hearing was attended by Senior Special Prosecutor NAB Muhammad Rafay who contended that the disqualification period starts after a convict is released from prison.

Justice Kayani inquired whether the disqualification under Article 63 was only applicable to members of the parliament and not to the members of the provincial assemblies.

In response, the NAB prosecutor informed that disqualification under Article 63 did not apply to the members of the provincial assembly. and added that PML-N ticketholder Mir Faiq Ali Jamali was sentenced to 10 years of disqualification.

“Faiq Jamali’s sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court,” prosecutor Rafay further reiterated.

Justice Kayani remarked that he had not addressed the question asked of him. He further inquired whether the subsidiary legislation in the Constitution was different from the interpretation given in it.

The NAB official informed him that Article 63 (1) H of the Constitution “spoke generally”. He told the bench that the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) was a special law which carried a penalty of disqualification for 10 years.

“In the Khalid Longo case, the Supreme Court upheld the sentence of disqualification,” he added.

After listening to the arguments, the previous decision of the IHC’s single bench taken in 2019, which had reduced the period of disqualification to five years, was suspended by the divisional bench.

The SC, in July 2019, had barred Jamali from contesting elections till