LNG case
Court gives NAB until Aug 6 to file final reference against Abbasi

Statesman Report

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad on Friday gave the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) till August 6 to file a final reference against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) case.

The deadline was given during the hearing, which was presided by Judge Azam Khan. Abbasi and other accused in the case, Azimi Adil, were present before the court. Counsel for the former premier, Barrister Zafarullah, prayed before the court that for two years NAB kept asking his client various questions and despite keeping his client in jail for six and a half months, the anti-graft body was unable to file a reference.

“Such a spectacle should not be staged and thus the hearing should be adjourned till the NAB files a reference,” the counsel implored.

Presenting his arguments, NAB Prosecutor Usman Mirza said that it would take another three to four weeks to complete the final reference but, as far as the supplementary reference is concerned, the attendance of the accused has been completed. “If the court wants to charge the accused, then NAB has no objection,” Prosecutor Mirza said.

To this, the judge remarked that the accused would be indicted when the supplementary reference.

The accountability court gave NAB till August 6 to complete the investigation against Abbasi and file a final reference, saying it was the final deadline.

Speaking to the media outside the accountability court, former PM Abbasi said the investigation has been ongoing for a year, the questionnaires were answered and arrests were made to which no justification was given.

“NAB remanded me for 70 days and did not ask a single question,” Abbasi said. “The Islamabad High Court granted me bail under human rights. We still say that the demands of justice are very clear, the chairman of NAB has been a judge of the Supreme Court, but arrests are made before cases are made.”

Abbasi added that NAB’s investigation and court’s proceedings should be done in-camera.

“It is very easy to make allegations,” he said. “There is no evidence, no case, NAB is being used to suppress. Raja Pervez Ashraf was acquitted after 12 years. Who is responsible for the disgrace of the past 12 years, does anyone have an answer?”