NAB arrests Khaqan Abbasi on corruption charges


Amraiz Khan


NAB arrested former Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday in a multi-billion-rupee case related to the award of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import contract.
Former Prime Minsiter was was on his way to attend a press conference in Lahore along with PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal and spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, when 12 members team of NAB arrested him near Thokar Niaz Baig interchange.
Mr. Abbasi initially resisted the arrest and asked the team to show arrest warrants which were shown to him and finally he surrendered. He was shifted to NAB office in Lahore after a medical check-up. After that he was shifted to NAB Rawalpindi.
NAB sources that Khaqan Abbasi was not cooperating with investigators and despite repeated notices he never turned up. Former premier had only answered 20 out of the 75 questions he had been asked, said bureau investigators. They said that despite giving him time, Abbasi had continually asked for more time to answer these questions.
As per the arrest warrant, Abbasi is “accused of commission of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices under Section 9(a) of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999.”
NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal directed the former premier’s arrest under Section 18(e) and Section 24(a) of the NAO.
Abbasi “shall be produced before the court for authorisation of detention for such period as may be necessary for finalisation of the investigation”, the arrest warrant added.
According to sources, he will be presented in court tomorrow due to the shortage of court hours on Thursday. Accountability judge Chaudhry Ameer Khan is expected to hear NAB’s request for a transit remand.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif held a press conference in Lahore immediately after arrest and condemned the arrest terming it a political victimization.
NAB Chairman also signed the arrest warrants of another PML-N leader, Miftah Ismail, as well as former managing director of Pakistan State Oil, Sheikh Imran ul Haque on Thursday.
Ismail is also being probed in connection with the LNG import case. After Abbasi’s arrest, teams in Karachi and Islamabad were dispatched to take the former finance minister into custody.
By evening, a NAB team had secured warrants to enter Ismail’s house in Karachi for a search and arrest operation. However, it eventually returned empty-handed as Ismail was not at home. Both leaders had earlier been placed on the Exit Control List to restrict their movement abroad.