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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior vice president and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and other accused counsels in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) case, on Tuesday, requested the Accountability Court to dispose of the case on the basis of National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance 2021.

The Accountability Court-II Judge, Muhammad Azam Khan, while hearing the case asked prosecution and defense counsels to submit their comments on the matter related to applicability of NAB (Second Amendment) Ordinance during the next hearing to be held on October 26.

Abbasi and other accused appeared before the court, and the court allowed them to leave after marking their attendance. During the hearing, Abbasi's counsel Barrister Zafarullah Khan and along with other accused counsels produced NAB Amendment Ordinance before the court and requested the court to dispose of the case.

Abbasi's counsel told the court that following the promulgation of the NAB Amendment Ordinance, the jurisdiction of the NAB and the Accountability Court have ended. Under the Second Amendment Ordinance, the NAB cannot proceed against private persons, he said, adding that if the issue is related to tax then it should be transferred to a tax tribunal.

The defense counsels also requested the court to grant them time to review the new ordinance.

The NAB prosecutor, Usman Mirza, opposed the request of the defense counsels seeking termination of LNG case.

He said that the NAB Second Amendment Ordinance would not be applicable over the decision made before October 6.

Zafarullah said that the reference against the former prime minister, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, was filed in 2010 and he was acquitted in the Sahiwal Rental Power reference after promulgation of NAB First Amendment Ordinance in 2019.

The court, after hearing arguments of both the parties, granted them two weeks' time and asked the NAB and the defense counsels to submit their comments regarding the matter during the next hearing to be held on October 26.

Abbasi, while talking to media after appearing before the Accountability Court in LNG case, said that the country's economy is deteriorating day by day but Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet members do not care about it.

He said that four-year term of the NAB Chairman former Justice Javed Iqbal, ended four days ago but the government has yet not started consultation with the opposition for appointment of a new because the government wants to keep the present chairman as he is "tasked to target" the opposition leaders.

Abbasi said that the NAB Amendment Ordinance will be challenged in court as it is being promulgated to hide government's thefts and corruption. To a question about relation with the Pakistan People Party (PPP), he said that the party is consulted on issues related to opposition but it is not part of the anti-government alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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