News Analysis |
Sharjeel Memon, the Ex-Information Minister, of Sindh, has been given to police on a 10-day remand until November 4 by the Accountability Court. Eleven other accused, arrested on corruption charges, were sent to jail as well. PPP has reacted strongly on NAB’s double standards. Bilawal Bhutto’s tweet “One land, two laws” went viral.
On Monday, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had rejected his bail plea in relation to a graft case against him. The court ordered the arrest of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader. In order to evade arrest, Sharjeel Memon had remained inside the high court building for several hours trying to get the Supreme court to overturn the order. The former lawmaker is facing a graft reference for embezzlement to the tune of Rs 5.76bn filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in an accountability court.
After his arrest by NAB, senior PPP leaders tweeted support for him and Bilawal protested against there being a different law for him and a different one for the House of Sharifs.
The two-member bench headed by the Chief Justice of the SHC, Justice Ahmad Ali M.Sheikh, had rejected the bail appeals of Memon and 12 others accused of corruption. Memon’s plea of stopping his arrest was annulled by the SHC; the court asserted that it can only be considered if the Supreme Court overturns the order.
After his arrest by NAB, senior PPP leaders tweeted in his support while Bilawal protested against there being a different law for him and a different one for the House of Sharifs.
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) October 23, 2017
However, some public figures from the opposition party PTI, Imran Khan and media have reacted differently; they welcomed Sharjeel’s arrest and called for the NAB action to be expanded to other corrupt leaders.
— Mubasher Lucman (@mubasherlucman) October 24, 2017
— Anjum Kiani (@AnjumKiani) October 23, 2017
Sharjeel Memon faces two graft references — the first pertaining to awarding government advertisements at above-market ‘exorbitant rates’ to advertising agencies and not following tender laws. The second is related to the illegal adjustment and accumulation of hundreds of acres of land in favor of a private housing project.
From the Media Agencies, cases have been made against Asim Amir Khan Sikandar, Senior Executive Director M/s Evernew Concepts Pvt.Ltd.; Masood Hashmi. CEO M/s. Orient Communication Pvt. Ltd.; Gulzar Ali.
Sharjeel Memon returned from self-exile back to Pakistan earlier this year in March 2017 and had obtained a protective bail in April. He had fled to Dubai after a NAB crackdown in 2015 in which he was implicated. The NAB filed a reference against Sharjeel Memon and 11 other officials – including members of media agencies- for allegedly committing corruption between July 2013 to June 2015.
Read more: PPP impeding accountability in Sindh
Along with him others accused from the Information Department include Zulifqar Ali Shalwani, the then Secretary Information; Mansoor Ahmed Rajput, the then Deputy Director Advertisement; Sarang Latif Chandio, the then Information Officer, and Altaf Hussain Memon, the then Section Officer. From the Media Agencies, cases have been made against Asim Amir Khan Sikandar, Senior Executive Director M/s Evernew Concepts Pvt.Ltd.; Masood Hashmi. CEO M/s. Orient Communication Pvt. Ltd.; Gulzar Ali.
Director of M/s Adarts Karachi Pvt. Ltd.; Salman Mansoor, Director of M/s Adarts Karachi Pvt. Ltd.; Umar Shahzad, Proprietor of Daily Milan; Syed Naveed, Proprietor of M/s Media Power Link; Muhammad Hanif, Company Secretary M/s Evernew Concepts Pvt. Ltd. – APP