ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court has issued notices to the ministry of law and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) over the petitions of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former minister Ahsan Iqbal. A bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Lubna Saleem heard petitions and sought reply from the law ministry and the NAB.
Barrister Zafarullah Khan and Jahangir Jadoon appeared before the court to represent Abbasi. Former prime minister Abbasi filed a bail petition in the Islamabad high court (IHC) last week. Barrister Zafarullah pleaded in the IHC to approve the bail until completion of his client’s trial in NAB’s LNG reference.
“The petitioner has been in NAB detention for 191 days and the NAB has filed only an interim reference against him till now,” the counsel argued. The petitioner and other accused were not even provided with the copies of the reference so far, the counsel said. A copy of the court decision with regard to bail granted to Shaikh Imranul Haq, a co-accused in the LNG case, was also attached with the petition.
Earlier, on Jan 21, an accountability court had extended the judicial remand of Abbasi in LNG reference. Abbasi, Miftah Ismail, ex-PSO MD Imranul Haq and others are facing charges of corruption over awarding a LNG import contract allegedly at exorbitant rates in 2015, which caused a big loss to the national exchequer.
NAB sources said Abbasi, in 2013, had awarded a LNG import and distribution contract to the Elengy Terminal in violation of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules and relevant laws.