Anti-graft watchdog to next present accused before accountability court on Jan. 6
An Accountability Court in Islamabad on Tuesday granted the National Accountability Bureau a 13-day physical remand of former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal over his alleged role in corruption linked to the Narowal Sports City.
The senior Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader was arrested by NAB officials a day earlier, after he appeared before them to respond to questions related to the case. During today’s hearing, the NAB prosecutor had sought a 14-day remand of the accused.
In it’s filing, NAB claimed that the cost of the sports complex—Rs. 3 billion—had massively increased beyond its original allocation, and this had not been approved by the relevant authorities. It alleged Iqbal bypassed the Central Development Working Party and approved funds for the project without following procedure as laid out in the Development Manual of the Planning Commission. It also accused Iqbal of using federal funds and money allocated for the Pakistan Sports Board for the project.
Prior to his arrest, the PMLN secretary-general had said he had already submitted documents related to his income and expenditures to NAB Rawalpindi. He said he had also responded to a questionnaire given to him by the bureau in connection with the case.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, NAB alleged the accused was directly involved in the project and there was a risk he could flee the country if he were not taken into custody.
Iqbal will now be produced before the court on Jan. 6.
Speaking to the media before the hearing, the former minister said he accepted his punishment “if I am being punished for speaking out in favor of the death sentence handed to Gen. Pervez Musharraf.” He vowed the detention would not silence him and would not prevent him from continuing to speak out against Prime Minister Imran Khan and the incumbent government.