Abdullah Khaqan Abbasi, son of former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, was reportedly stopped by the immigration staff from leaving the country at the Islamabad airport on Saturday. According to the local media reports, Abdullah Khaqan Abbasi was going to depart for Dubai through a foreign airline’s flight, EK-613. It is not yet clear as to why Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s son was stopped at the airport.
Abdullah Khaqan Abbasi, son of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, stopped from boarding his flight to Dubai. Reports say his name not on the ECL but on the 'Stop List'.
— Zebunnisa Burki (@zburki) September 12, 2020
Some sources claim that the FIA immigration officials offloaded Abdullah due to the presence of his name on the stop list of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). However, there is no official confirmation of the claim.
Abdullah Khaqan Abbasi, the son of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, was offloaded from a flight to Dubai Saturday morning.
He was informed that his name has been placed on NAB's Stop List https://t.co/tNzA2d90fK
— Samaa English (@SamaaEnglish) September 12, 2020
Notably, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had extended the bail of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in a case related to the illegal appointments in Pakistan State Oil (PSO). The court had also directed to place names of Abbasi and other accused on the Exit Control List (ECL).
The former prime minister is also among others accused who are facing charges of corruption over awarding LNG import contract allegedly at exorbitant rates in 2015, which caused a big loss to the national exchequer.
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.
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
A few days ago, 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.”
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?”
Opposition parties in Pakistan believe that the incumbent government is targeting families of the rival politicians for political reasons. In a related development, the daughter of Shehbaz Sharif, President PML-N, also filed a petition before a court to seek exemption from the personal appearance in court.
The government, on the other hand, maintains that the families of the former ruling parties were involved in the money laundering activities. Therefore, it maintains, it is important to get those members to cooperate with NAB in the cases and place them on no-fly lists.