ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf for allegedly accumulating assets beyond his known sources of income.
IHC Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb ruled that the former military dictator was amenable to be proceeded, investigated, tried and convicted under the NAB Ordinance of 1999 if there was evidence that he committed an offence.
The former president was previously protected from prosecution due to his being a serving military officer and also a head of state.
“Gen (r) Musharraf is amenable to be proceeded under the Ordinance of 1999 and thus investigated, tried or convicted,” the bench stated in its order. With the ruling, the IHC has confirmed that everyone, including retired military officials, can be tried under NAB laws if found involved in corruption or corrupt practices.
Previously, a handful of senior military officials, most notably former naval chief Admiral (r) Mansurul Haq, Maj Gen (r) Khalid Zahir Akhter, and Lt Gen (r) Muhammad Afzal Muzaffar have faced NAB cases. Haq’s case ended with a $7.5 million plea bargain, while the latter two were found guilty by a court in the NLC scam.
The division bench held that Musharraf can be tried because of “two eventualities; firstly, for having held the Constitutional post of the president of Pakistan and secondly, clause (vi) of section 5(m) of the Ordinance of 1999 is attracted because he had resigned and stands retired from the Armed Forces of Pakistan.”
The judgment was issued on Thursday.
The order came in response to a petition filed by Colonel (r) Inamul Rahiem, wherein he sought IHC directions for NAB to initiate an inquiry against Musharraf as the assets he had declared in his nomination papers were beyond his known sources of income.
The petitioner had previously filed a complaint before NAB for initiating an inquiry against Musharraf after accusing him of having assets beyond his known sources of income and not declaring them in his nomination papers. On April 25, 2013, the bureau had informed the petitioner that his complaint could not be entertained for want of jurisdiction because, as a member of the armed forces, Gen (r) Musharraf was immune from being proceeded against under the NAB Ordinance, 1999.
Published in Daily Times, February 10th 2018.