IHC directs probe against Musharraf under NAB ordinance

TOPSHOTS Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf gestures upon his arrival at the Karachi International airport from Dubai, in Karachi on March 24, 2013. Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf returned home after more than four years in exile, defying a Taliban death threat to contest historic general elections. AFP PHOTO/ AAMIR QURESHIAAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

The Islamabad High Court has directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to start a probe against former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf for allegedly having assets beyond his known means of income.

The IHC bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb ruled that the former military dictator to be tried under the NAB Ordinance of 1999.

The Thursday ruling of the IHC confirmed that everyone, including retired military officials, can be tried under NAB laws if found involved in corruption or corrupt practices.

The former president was previously protected from prosecution due to his being a serving military officer and also head of state.

Answering a question on whether the bureau has jurisdiction to inquire into or to investigate the alleged offences of corruption or corrupt practices against Musharraf, the court ruled that a member of the Armed Forces who has also been president of Pakistan cannot claim immunity or exemption from being subjected to the Ordinance of 1999.

Likewise, it added, a member of the Armed Forces after retirement or resignation becomes exposed to being proceeded against under NAB laws because the immunity ends upon the end of service.

The order has come in response to a petition filed by a retired military colonel, 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.

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 Musharraf was immune from being proceeded against under the NAB Ordinance, 1999.

Rahiem, however, had argued before the court that Musharraf was not immune from being accountable under the NAB laws.