IHC restores 10-year disqualification of accountability laws convicts

Zubair Qureshi

The Islamabad High Court on Thursday restored the 10-year disqualification period for those convicted under the National Accountability Ordinance.The decision was taken by the division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz on an appeal against limiting the disqualification of former Balochistan Minister Mir Faiq Ali Jamali from 10 to 5 years. The National Accountability Bureau was the appellant.
An IHC single-bench had in July last year reduced his disqualification to five years, while according to NAB, the NAO provides for 10-year disqualification for a convict.As per details, in October 2013 an accountability court had sentenced Jamali to a 14-year imprisonment with a fine of Rs6 million over corruption charges. He was released from prison after completing his jail term.

In July 2019, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the then-chief justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, barred Jamali from contesting elections till 2026.

The then CJP had ruled that the former minister would be allowed to participate in the elections after Nov 28, 2026. However, after the changes introduced to the Election Act 2017 last year — reducing the period of disqualification to five years — Jamali filed a petition before the IHC seeking relief as well as permission to contest the Feb 8, 2024 elections.