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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior vice president and former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday said that the present government will complete its tenure and the general election will be held in the country on its scheduled time.

Responding to a question about former premier Imran Khan’s demands regarding immediate elections in the country during media talks outside the Accountability Court, he said that the coalition government will complete its tenure, and then elections will be held as per the Constitution.

About Khan’s warning that if general elections were not held immediately he will shut down Islamabad, Abbasi said that he can definitely try to shut down the capital but why did he not think of holding the election before April 10?

He further said that he has requested former National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Justice (retd), Javed Iqbal, many times to public his assets so that the people of Pakistan know about the reality of the man who made cases against others without concrete evidence. This is the requirement of the office over which you remained that you should also present yourself for accountability, he said, adding that place your assets in and outside the country including your assets in Australia before the nation.

Abbasi said that Javed Iqbal has gone home, but the cases are still there. A man who could not properly handle the prosecution of cases, the reality of such cases is evident from this.

When he was asked when former Premier Nawaz Sharif will return to the country, he said that Sharif will come back to the country after the completion of his treatment and when doctors allow him.

Abbasi said that the present government is making efforts to put the country on the right track as former Prime Minister Khan had destroyed the country’s economy during his four years’ tenure.

Earlier, he and other accused appeared before Accountability Court judge Muhammad Azam Khan in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) case -regarding the award of LNG Terminal to ETPL causing a loss of Rs21.584 billion to the exchequer.

Usman Masood Mirza prosecutor National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Barrister Zafarullah, Barrister Qasim Nawaz Abbasi, and counsels for other accused appeared before the court. During the hearing, defense counsels told the court that after the new amended NAB law many things have become clear.

Has any accused filed an application before it under the new amended NAB law the judge asked. To this the defense counsel, Qasim Nawaz Abbasi said that yes we are ready to file an application. He further told the court that as per the new NAB law, federal and provincial cabinets, business community and collective decisions of the committees or sub-committees, Council of Common Interests (CCI), National Economic Council (NEC), National Finance Commission (NFC) and others were excluded from the ambit of the NAB.

During the hearing, counsel for the accused Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam filed an acquittal application under new amended NAB law. He requested the court that the reference does not come under the jurisdiction of the NAB; therefore, the court should reject the reference as per law.

The NAB prosecutor, while opposing the defense counsel’s request, said that cabinet approval had been taken for the award of the LNG contract. The accused had allegedly gained financial benefits from LNG contract, he said, adding that section related to money laundering was also included in the LNG reference.

The court adjourned LNG case till October 4 and sought arguments from both the parties over the application filed by the accused.

The NAB on December 4, 2019 filed LNG case before the Accountability Court. Those who are nominated in the reference for allegedly misusing their authority include, 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 Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and others, in connection with LNG case.

The bureau has nominated Abbasi, Abdul Khaqan Abbasi son of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, 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.

The other accused include, Aamir Naseem, former member oil OGRA, Uzma Adil Khan, chairperson OGRA, Shahid M Islam, former MD PSO, and Abdul Samad Dawood Director Engro Corporation Limited, Hussain Dawood Chairman Engro Corporation Limited, M/s QED Consultant UK through its MD Phillip Nutman, Maverick Advisory through its CEO Sana Sadiq, Muhammad Amin MD Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL), and Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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