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ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court on Tuesday granted time to the defence counsel for filing a fresh acquittal application under the National Accountability (Amendment) Act, 2022, in the Liquefied Natural Gas corruption reference against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and others.

The Accountability Court-II judge, Muhammad Azam Khan, while hearing the LNG case regarding the award of the LNG Terminal to the ETPL causing a loss of Rs 21.584 billion to the exchequer, granted time to Barrister Zafarullah Khan for filing an acquittal application under the NAB Amendment Act, 2022, and adjourned the hearing of the case till September 7.

Former premier Abbasi and other accused appeared before the court. Usman Masood Mirza, prosecutor National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Barrister Zafarullah, Barrister Qasim Nawaz Abbasi, and counsels for the other accused appeared before the court.

During the hearing, Abbasi’s counsel requested the court to grant him time for filing a fresh acquittal application. The court approved his request and adjourned the case till September 7.

Talking to the reporters outside the Accountability Court, Abbasi said that former chairman NAB Javed Iqbal would be asked what he has done during the last four years and he would be held accountable. The assets of former chairman NAB should be placed before the nation, he said, adding that he had declared his 35 years old assets before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

About the prohibited funding case against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), he said that former prime minister Imran Khan has not produced a single document to prove his stance during the last eight years.

The NAB on December 4, 2019, filed the LNG case before the Accountability Court. Those who are nominated in the reference for allegedly misusing their authority included Abbasi, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, ex-managing director (MD) Pakistan State Oil (PSO) Sheikh Imranul Haque, Agha Jan Akhtar, former chairman Port Qasim Authority (PQA), Saeed Ahmed Khan, former chairman Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), Aamir Naseem, former member oil Ogra, Uzma Adil Khan, chairperson Ogra, Shahid M Islam, former MD PSO, and Abdul Samad Dawood.

The bureau on August 6, 2020, filed a supplementary reference against former prime minister Abbasi and others, in connection with the LNG case.

The bureau has nominated Abbasi, Abdul Khaqan Abbasi son of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former finance minister Miftah Ismail, ex-MD PSO Sheikh Imranul Haque, Agha Jan Akhtar, former chairman PQA, and Saeed Ahmed Khan, former chairman Ogra, in the supplementary reference.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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