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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader and former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on Tuesday, said that if the government believes that the gift he had received was illegally received or it violated the law then it should take action against him.

Talking to media outside the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) after appearing before the Accountability Court-II judge, Nasir Javed Rana, Abbasi said that “Whoever wants to register a case with respect to Toshakhana gifts against me, lodge it in these courts as I am already facing many cases,” he said.

He said that morally the receiver of the foreign gift is the sole owner of the gift. The gifts were not given to the government of Pakistan and given to the individual who holds the office, he said, adding that this is the law and these are the objective of the gifts.

Abbasi said that there was also his name in the Toshakhana record, adding that the gifts received from foreign countries were deposited with the state depositary but it could be retained after paying a certain amount as per law. The value of the gifts was assessed by the government, he said.

Abbasi served as Prime Minister from August 2017 to May 2018. According to Toshakhana record, Sameena Shahid, the wife of former premier Abbasi, retained a gift worth more than Rs99 million after she paid Rs19.9 million in 2017 against a jewellery set. Abbasi’s son Nadir Khaqan paid over Rs3 million to retain Rs17 million wristwatch on April 2017-2018. Similarly, his other son, Abdullah Khaqan on the same day, paid Rs1.09 million against a watch worth Rs5.5 million.

Earlier, he appeared before the court in the LNG case regarding the award of the LNG terminal to the ETPL that allegedly caused a loss of Rs21.584 billion to the exchequer.

During the hearing, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor told the court that in the LNG case arguments have been completed.

He further told the court that further amendment has been proposed in the NAB law under which Accountability Court has been empowered and it can refer pending cases to any tribunal. The court could not hear final arguments with respect to the acquittal application filed by the accused under the National Accountability (Amendment) Act, 2022, due to the amendments in the NAB law. The court adjourned the hearing of the case till April 4.

The NAB, on December 4, 2019, filed an LNG case before the Accountability Court.

The bureau on August 6, 2020, filed a supplementary reference against former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan 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, former 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, 2023

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