LAHORE: The conviction of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members under the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 has been challenged before the Lahore High Court.

Senior lawyer AK Dogar assailed the conviction through an application filed in an already pending main petition, challenging the existence of the NAB ordinance.

The petitioner-lawyer pleads that the former prime minister and others have been convicted by a court which has no jurisdiction because the law under which it (court) has been created is a dead law.

He states that the high court should suspend the operation of the accountability court’s judgment for being a court established under a non-existent law.

In the main petition, Advocate Dogar challenging the NAB ordinance 1999 contends that the ordinance was promulgated by then military dictator/president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf under Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) No 1 of 1999 as well as order No 9 of 1999.

He states that the order No 9 was promulgated only to amend PCO No 1 of 1999 by inserting section 5A (1) in it to the effect that limitation of 120 days prescribed under Article 89 of the Constitution to any ordinance by the president will not be applicable to the laws made under PCO No 1 of 1999.

He says under Article 270-AA of the Constitution through 18th amendment, the PCO No 1 of 1999 was declared without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

The lawyer argues that once PCO No 1 was declared without lawful authority and of no legal effect, the amendments in it made under order No 9 of 1999 will also stand lapsed and therefore, the limitation period of 120 days prescribed under Article 89 will be applicable to the NAB ordinance.

He further argues that according to sub-article 2 of Article 270-AA of the Constitution, certain laws which were still enforced, shall continue to remain enforced unless amended by the competent legislation.

Advocate Dogar asks the court to declare that after the 18th amendment and insertion of Article 270-AA in the Constitution, the NAB ordinance ceased to be the law and had become non-existent and a dead letter.

He states that thousands of people have been suffering from the agony of proceedings under a law which is constitutionally non-existent. All these proceedings should also be set aside, he adds.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018