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Sindh Assembly Speaker arrested by NAB


News Desk |

The National Accountability watchdog (NAB)’s Karachi chapter on Wednesday, 20th February arrested Speaker Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani from a hotel in Islamabad, local press reported citing officials from within the bureau. According to NAB officials, Durrani faces an inquiry for having assets beyond his known sources of income as well as allegations that he had embezzled public funds in the previous tenure.

NAB officials told local media outlets that the bureau waited for Durrani to leave Sindh before making the arrest as Durrani is escorted by his sizable security team in his home province and the bureau was concerned that a direct confrontation would turn hostile. The officials further said that the reason NAB arrests personnel who hold important offices is because they otherwise use their position to influence government officers.

PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari addressed a press conference at 3 pm and lambasted the anti-corruption watchdog while demanding amendments in the NAB laws.

The corruption watchdog’s Karachi chapter collaborated with NAB Rawalpindi and the intelligence wing of NAB headquarters to ensure Durrani’s arrest. NAB was to produce the detained Sindh Assembly speaker in court tomorrow (Thursday), 21st February to secure his remand, according to a press release.

However, later in the day, NAB approached an accountability court in Islamabad to seek a week-long transit remand. Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir, popular for having conducted the Avenfield case against the Sharif family, granted the bureau three-day transit instead, with instructions to produce him in the relevant court in Karachi within three days.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari slammed the arrest, saying that his party would not allow the “benaami wazeer-e-azam” to establish a beywardi aamriat (dictatorship).

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“Attack on [the] speaker of [a] federating unit is unacceptable. [An] undemocratic attempt to dislodge Sindh govt. Failed before will fail again. Independent institutions shouldn’t unwittingly be part of political engineering,” he said on Twitter.

PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari addressed a press conference at 3 pm and lambasted the anti-corruption watchdog while demanding amendments in the NAB laws. Last year in July, NAB had approved an inquiry against Durrani over various allegations of corruption.

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NAB’s regional board had sanctioned three separate inquiries against the PPP leader: the first inquiry pertains to an allegation of accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income by Durrani; the second relates to 352 illegal appointments made by him; and the third pertains to embezzlement of funds for the construction of the MPA Hostel and construction of the new Sindh Assembly building, as well as in the appointment of project directors for the said projects.