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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior vice president and former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on Tuesday, said that any step with respect to Afghanistan issue should be taken with consensus and with the support of the parliament. Talking to reporters after appearing before an Accountability Court in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) case, he said that before taking any step regarding Afghanistan issue, we need take into account three basic points including, respect of the will of the people of Afghanistan, sovereignty of Afghanistan, and should not become a party in the Afghanistan conflict.

About his case, he said that the country witnessed power breakdown due to blockage of LNG for only six days due to incompetence of the present government.

“A case is made against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) that LNG terminal was installed, while LNG was not required in the country,” he said, adding that the country suffered losses due to suspension of LNG for six days. Abbasi said that the NAB chairman should now find out that the installation of LNG terminal was required or not.

“Today you have two choices, either run the government or the NAB as the country cannot progress in the presence of the NAB,” he said, adding that special assistant to the prime minister on energy said that the NAB is interfering in his affairs.

No other institution has caused as much damage to this country as the NAB, he said. He asked the chairman NAB to review the LNG case. He alleged that there are over 20 corruption scandals worth billions of rupees in the country but the NAB has become a silent spectator. Today, the NAB is being used to hide the corruption of the present government, he said.

Abbasi said that the rates of electricity and CNG increased after the budget was approved.

Inflation will further increase in the country, he said, adding that today, one of the most corrupt governments in the country’s history has come into power.

To a question, he said that a private TV channel has aired his interview out of context to create an impression that he has made a statement about PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif and another senior leader Rana Tanveer.

To another query about Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s statement, he said that those who do not respect vote, we would also not give them respect.

“Problems in our country have been created due to not giving respect to vote and stealing of elections,” he said, adding that the country will not progress, if elections continued to be stolen.

He said that the election in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K) is a test case and the whole world was watching the AJ&K elections.

“If the AJ&K elections are also rigged, how will the world see Pakistan,” he added.

Earlier, he along with other accused appeared before Accountability Court-II judge Muhammad Azam Khan in the LNG case.

During the hearing, Abbasi’s counsel Barrister Zafarullah Khan cross-examined prosecution witness, Fasihuddin, acting senior general manager regulatory affairs Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL).

To a question, the witness said that the chart regarding financial position of the SSGC, which he produced before the court was prepared by his staff.

The defence counsel confronted the witness with his statement where he said that the chart was prepared by him.

He further said that it was prepared by me in the sense that I am looking after the Finance Division and it is true that the chart was prepared by my staff based on audited financial statements of the company.

I have not submitted the notice of the NAB in this court, he said.

When he was asked on whose notice you appeared before the court, the witness replied that he came on the summon of the court for recording of his statement in the capacity of prosecution witness.

I had appeared before the investigation officer (IO) twice, he said, when the counsel asked that how many times he appeared before the NAB IO.

Munwer Iqbal, counsel for Agha Jan Akhtar, a co-accused, in the case, also completed cross-examination of the witness but Yasir, counsel for Saeed Ahmed Khan did not compete cross-examination of the witness. The court adjourned hearing of the case till July 13th and summoned again the witness, Fasihuddin, during the next hearing.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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