IHC irked by AGP’s absence in NAB plea

ISLAMABAD:

The Islamabad High Court on Thursday expressed its displeasure over the failure of the attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) to appear before the court as his assistance was sought in a National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) appeal to increase the disqualification period of someone convicted for corruption from five years to 10.

The IHC issued a notice to the AGP again asking him to assist the court as the matter pertained to the interpretation of the Constitution and statutes.

A division bench comprising Justices Babar Sattar and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani were hearing an intra-court appeal against a judge’s decision to reduce the disqualification period of a NAB convict from 10 years to five years.

Justice Sattar remarked how the IHC could tamper with the Supreme Court’s decision and Section 15A of the National Accountability Ordinance.

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Justice Kayani observed that the IHC could appoint judicial assistants in the case. Earlier this month, the division bench had stayed the decision of the judge to set the period of disqualification at five years from 10.

On Thursday, the NAB prosecutor apprised the court about the punishment of Faiq Ali Jamali, a former provincial minister, who was sentenced to 14 years in jail by an accountability court for embezzling Baitul Mal funds.

The prosecutor argued that the disqualification period of a convict was 10 years in the NAO and it was a special law. He asked the court to set aside the decision of the judge to reduce the disqualification period from 10 years to five.

The hearing was adjourned till next week, the date of which will be scheduled later. The PML-N has given a ticket to Jamali to contest the election for Balochistan Assembly’s BS-16 constituency.

Last year, Jamali quit the Balochistan Awami Party to join the PPP. However, two months ago, he joined the PML-N. In June last year, IHC’s Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan while hearing Jamali’s plea against his 10-year disqualification ruled that as an amendment in the Elections Act, 2017 redefined the term of disqualification and made it up to five years, a NAB convict would also receive this benefit.


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