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Former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi placed on ECL

Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday extended the bail of former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in a case related to an illegal appointment in Pakistan State Oil

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The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday extended the bail of former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in a case related to an illegal appointment in Pakistan State Oil (PSO). The court also directed authorities to place names of Abbasi and others accused in the case on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had appeared before the court during the hearing held earlier today. The court, after hearing arguments from both sides in the case, extended the bail of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Arshad Mirza, Imranul Haque, and Yakoob Babar.

The NAB reference against Abbasi

The National Accountability Bureau had earlier filed a reference against Abbasi, Mirza, PSO’s former managing director Sheikh Imranul Haq, and deputy managing director/chief financial officer Yacoob Sattar for allegedly causing a loss of Rs138.96 million to the national exchequer.

It said that Abbasi, when serving as a minister for petroleum and natural resources, in connivance with Mirza, misused his authority while appointing Sheikh as MD and Suttar as DMD of the PSO in violation of the rules and regulations. It added that the inquiry into this case was conducted on the Supreme Court’s order of July 14, 2018.

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The probe found that Haq had a conflict of interest with the PSO due to a liquified natural gas import agreement with his previous employer Engro Corporation, of which he served as the senior vice president, according to the NAB, he also promoted Suttar to the post of DMD without following protocol and within a month of his joining.

NAB investigation should be in-camera

Speaking to the media outside the accountability court, former PM Abbasi said the investigation into the case had been ongoing for a year, and the questionnaires had been answered and arrests 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.”

Read More: NAB goes after Shahid Khaqan Abbasi over misuse of authority

Abbasi added that NAB’s investigation and court 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?”