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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court turned down the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s appeals to cancel the bails of the co-accused in Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) leader Khursheed Shah’s case.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, on Tuesday, heard the NAB’s application against the co-accused in the PPP leader’s case. The Court also dismissed the NAB’s appeal against the cancellation of Sindh Minister Awais Qadir Shah’s bail. The bench questioned how the co-accused can be arrested when the prime accused has been granted bail, adding the main accused (the PPP leader) was granted bail on the basis of lack of evidence.

Justice Ayesha Malik questioned the prosecutor, stating more evidence was required to link the money to the corruption charge. “Under which contract did Khursheed Shah get Rs 2.5 million in commission? On what basis is a cheque called a bribe or commission?” Justice Malik questioned.

The chief justice remarked that the contractor may have gifted the money to Khursheed. He directed the NAB to “work hard” in order to prove the case during the trial.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah ordered the anti-graft watchdog to desist from arresting Khursheed’s wives, children, and relatives, stating that “it is not right to make a case against anyone without solid evidence”.

The NAB prosecutor informed the court that contractor Abdul Razzaq Bahrani paid Rs 2.5 million to Khursheed in commission and could not give any concrete reason for the payment during the investigation.

The apex court in October, last year, has granted bail to Khursheed. In its detailed verdict, the Supreme Court said the NAB failed to show that the properties alleged to be held by Khursheed are in his actual or constructive possession and/or he receives the profits of those properties. It further said that there is no sufficient incriminating material to show that the properties held by the persons who are not the family members of the petitioner, but are alleged to be his benamidar, are actually of the petitioner (Khursheed).

The PPP leader was arrested on 18 September 2019 and facing trial on an interim reference. The order said that since his arrest, a period of more than two years has lapsed but the NAB is yet to file the final reference, thus, the conclusion of the trial is not in sight for no fault of the petitioner.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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