Dismiss Sharmila Farooqi’s plea against disqualification, NAB requests SHC

KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday requested the Sindh High Court (SHC) to turn down a plea of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) lawmaker Sharmila Farooqi against the corruption watchdog for writing to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Sindh Assembly Speaker to disqualify her for having been convicted by a court.

A division bench was hearing a petition filed by Sharmila seeking the court’s directives to restrain the authorities concerned from disqualifying her from holding public office.

In Tuesday’s hearing, the NAB prosecutor prayed to the court to throw out Sharmila’s plea contending that the PPP lawmaker should be disqualified under NAB ordinance.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing till March 06 and extended its interim restraining order to ECP and the speaker that not to take any coercive action against Sharmila.

Earlier, the PPP lawmaker had moved the court seeking its restraining directives to the authorities concerned from disqualifying her from MPA office. She submitted in her petition that the top anti-corruption department of the country had filed a reference against Sharmila, her father, who was a Steel Mills chairman, and mother for investing a huge amount in national saving schemes which did not commensurate with their known sources of income. However, later, we entered into a plea bargain with the NAB which was allowed by the relevant court 2001, Sharmila maintained.

She added that in 2016, the NAB had written to the ECP, the State Bank of Pakistan and others calling for her disqualification under the Section 15 of the Ordinance.

“Under no circumstances, the Section 15 of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999, which provided that a person stands disqualified for holding public officer for 21 years after having been convicted by a court, cannot be applied in her client’s case,” her counsel had argued.

On the other hand, NAB prosecutor had submitted that Sharmila cannot hold any public office as she had been convicted by an accountability court. He said Farooqi, her mother Anisa Farooqi and father Usman Farooqi, stood disqualified for holding public office for 21 years as per the judgment of the accountability court issued on April 28, 2001 under Section 15 of the National Accountability Ordinance.