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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said that the decision to contest senate election by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was aimed at preventing the ruling party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) from securing two-thirds majority in the upper house.

Talking to reporters after appearing before Accountability Court in connection with the Narowal Sports City Complex Project (NSCCP) scam, he said that if the PDM does not take part in Senate election, then the PTI will get a two-thirds majority in the upper house. The ruling party after getting two-thirds majority in the senate can "distort" the constitution as well as change the 18th Amendment, he said. Iqbal said that the main objectives of the PDM were to protect the constitution of Pakistan. The PDM's leadership is in consensus to stage a long march as well as to tender resignations, he said.

He said that the director general (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has said that they have no back door contacts with the opposition.

The PML-N leader said that government has further increased the price of cooking oil and ghee like that of flour and sugar. A poor person can no longer buy ghee, he said.

About electricity, he said that when the "incompetent" government failed to control electricity problems in the country then they say it was the fault of the previous government. The "previous government syndrome" will not work any more, he said, adding that whenever this government falls, Shahzad Akbar, the special assistant to the prime minister on accountability, will be the first person who will flee abroad. He said that Imran Khan will not be allowed to flee abroad, and a treason case will be made against him.

Iqbal said that two and a half years ago an allegation of receiving of Rs70 billion commissions in the construction of Multan-Sukkur motorway project was leveled against him but so for a joint investigation team (JIT) has not been constituted to probe that allegation. He said that Multan-Sukkur Motorway has been built by the Chinese government, and not a single penny of Pakistan has been spent over it. You were leveling allegation against our friendly country China which helped Pakistan, he said.

Earlier, Iqbal appeared before Accountability Court-III judge Syed Asghar Ali in the NSCCP scam against him and others. Iqbal has availed services of new counsel Advocate Zulfiqar Abbas Naqvi as his previous counsel Tariq Mahmood Jahangiri has been appointed judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC). Advocate Zulfiqar Naqvi submitted his power of attorney before the court and also sought adjournment.

He told the court he wants to read the entire reference, therefore, the statements of the accused should not be recorded. The court approved his request, and adjourned hearing of the case till January 27th.

The NAB has filed the NSCCP reference against Iqbal, former Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms (PD&R) and other accused on November 18th. The reference has been filed in connection with the NSCCP, in which accused Iqbal misused his authority to illegally enhance the scope of project from Rs34.75 million to Rs2,994 million approximately.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021