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Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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LHC extends pre-arrest bail of Khawajas

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News Desk |

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday extended interim pre-arrest bail of former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique for 15 days, restraining the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting the two PML-N leaders.

The Khwaja brothers appeared before a division bench along with their counsel with a request for the extension in the concession of bail.

Mr. Rafique maintained that he was always ready to cooperate with the NAB and he should not be arrested. In his petition, Rafique said that on March 28 this year, he submitted documents– for a notice issued to him over the matter– within a week. He further outlined in his plea that he provided additional documents on April 5 as well.

Saad acknowledged that he helped the company in acquiring a small piece of land in 2010-12 and received a commission for rendering his services– which is mentioned in his tax statement.

“The bureau has made it a habit to arrest politicians after summoning them for inquiries”, the petition stated, adding that there is no allegation against the two brothers that merits arrest. It is important to mention here that former railway minister is allegedly a part of a case pertaining to the Paragon Housing Society scam.

The NAB has been investigating the matter since last few months. The case came under limelight when the protesters came at roads to demand a fair and transparent investigation by the government into the Paragon Housing Society scam. ‘Our money has been looted’, protestors alleged.

Read more: Why is Khwaja Saad Rafique applying for protective bail?

In this case, former Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Director General Ahad Khan Cheema, MPA Qaiser Amin Butt and opposition leader Mr. Shahbaz Sharif have already been arrested by the NAB. According to media reports Former Railway minister and his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique allegedly acquired 50 Kanal of land in the Paragon city.

It has emerged that they exchanged the land with Paragon city. The recent documents show that they gave their land to Paragon City and bought land in Paragon City. The exchange documents show the equal exchange which is in contradiction with the existing laws. According to law, if 50 Kanal is given to the society, it could receive only 30% of the land in exchange, but Khawaja brothers illegally received the land on equal terms.

PML-N is apparently not focusing on the legal battle to deal with the ongoing cases of corruption against them rather the party is fighting at political fronts to create a perception as if they are being victimized.

Khawaja Saad also appeared before a three-judge bench on the direction of Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar who summoned him to explain his position on alleged links with Paragon City and a twin tower project in Islamabad. Saad acknowledged that he helped the company in acquiring a small piece of land in 2010-12 and received a commission for rendering his services– which is mentioned in his tax statement.

This case has become very important in the present scenario in which the NAB is severely criticized by a majority of opposition leaders for not respecting teachers and unnecessarily arresting accused persons; it is to be seen how the watchdog deal with a politician who has just won a by-poll. The PTI-led government has clarified many times that the government has no control over the NAB.

Read more: Khawaja Saad Rafique’s direct link emerges with Paragon City Society

PM Imran Khan made it clear during a media talk last month that an impression was being created as if the NAB was being misused to target opposition leaders. He completely rejected such claims and maintained that his government would ensure all sort of cooperation with the watchdog but it (NAB) is an independent organization and everyone should respect it.

PML-N is apparently not focusing on the legal battle to deal with the ongoing cases of corruption against them rather the party is fighting at political fronts to create a perception as if they are being victimized. Analysts believe that a government led by Imran Khan may not easily be blackmailed on these matters and the due legal process will determine the fate of all those allegedly involved in corruption cases.