ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday declared that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has no power to disqualify any lawmaker whose name is included in ‘Fourth Schedule’.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq declared it while announcing a reserved judgment in a petition challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision of disqualifying a member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Shah Muhammad for his name being on the fourth schedule list.

The IHC bench had reserved the verdict in January this year after hearing arguments from the petitioner’s lawyer Babar Awan challenging his disqualification.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had disqualified Shah Muhammad, who was elected on the provincial assembly seat (PK-89) from Bannu, for being his name on the fourth schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.

During the hearing, his counsel Advocate Babar Awan argued before the court that the concerned district police officer had given his client a clearance certificate before he submitted his nomination papers for the 2018 general elections.

He maintained that placing a name on the fourth schedule is a violation of basic human rights. He added that the Election Commission of Pakistan could not de-seat a lawmaker for being one’s name on the fourth schedule.

Meanwhile, a division bench of the IHC extended interim bail of former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah in a case pertaining to money laundering through fake bank accounts.

The DB of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted hearing of the petition of former chief minister Sindh and extended his interim bail till May 8.

Previously, the same bench had granted pre-arrest interim bail to Qaim Ali Shah in a case pertaining to money laundering through fake bank accounts against Rs1 million surety bonds and directed him to cooperate with NAB.

Qaim Ali Shah, expressed the apprehension in his petition that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials might arrest him during his appearance before the investigation team, and requested the IHC to grant him pre-arrest bail on the grounds that he is a senior citizen.

The petitioner stated that he is 85 years old and thus entitled to pre-arrest bail due to his age.

The former chief minister has been named in a report by the joint investigation team tasked with probing the fake accounts case. He is among 172 people named in the report whose names were recommended for being placed on the no-fly list.

The senior politician in his petition contended that he was being politically victimized through the case, and claimed that he had been dragged into the case without any solid evidence.

He maintained that the NAB had no evidence against him and therefore prayed to the court to stop NAB from arresting him and grant pre-arrest bail.