Islamabad High Court frees PMLN leaders in separate cases
A two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday granted bails to former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and senior Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Ahsan Iqbal in separate cases.
Abbasi was granted bail in the Liquefied Natural Gas corruption case, while Iqbal secured bail in the Narowal Sports City corruption case. Both men have been directed to submit surety bonds worth Rs. 10 million each prior to being released.
The hearings were presided over by Chief Justice of IHC Athar Minallah and Justice Lubna Saleem Pervez.
The additional prosecutor general for the National Accountability Bureau during the proceedings opposed bail for Iqbal, claiming it could disrupt progress in the case. To this, Justice Minallah said that arresting a suspect to interrogate him was the hallmark of an incompetent investigation officer. A suspect is innocent until proven guilty, he added.
NAB arrested Iqbal in December while he appearing before it in relation to the corruption case. Built for over Rs. 3,000 million, the Narowal Sports City complex was developed when Iqbal was planning minister during the PMLN’s government.
Separately, Justice Minallah said that in the LNG case, the Punjab Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules did not apply, as no public funds were used. “If in the matter public funds weren’t used then what is your case built upon?” he asked the NAB prosecutor. To this, the counsel alleged that Abbasi had abused his authority in awarding the LNG terminal, bypassing OGRA.
Abbasi was arrested last year in an alleged case of corruption over the awarding of a multi-billion-rupee import contract for LNG in 2013, when he was the minister for petroleum and natural resources.