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ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court, on Tuesday, accepted the defence counsel’s plea in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) case against former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and others to adjourn the hearing of the case till a final decision on the cases regarding amendment in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws pending before the Supreme Court.

The LNG case was transferred to the administrative judge of the Accountability Court-I Muhammad Bashir following the transfer of Accountability Court-II judge Nasir Javed Rana.

Accountability Court-I judge Muhammad Bashir, while hearing the case, approved the defence counsel’s request and adjourned the hearing of the case till May 2. Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, defence counsel Dr Yaser Aman Khan, and other counsels as well as the NAB prosecutor, Usman Mirza, appeared before the court.

At the start of the hearing, defence counsel Aman Khan requested the court that the cases regarding the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Act, 2022 is pending before the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court (IHC). The IHC had constituted a larger bench for hearing the case regarding amendment in the NAB laws, he said.

The defence counsel requested the court to adjourn the hearing of the LNG case till the final decision on cases regarding the NAB amendments. The court approved the defence counsel’s request and adjourned the hearing of the case till May 2.

Talking to media outside the Accountability Court,Abbasi said that the top judiciary should restore its prestige itself. When an objection is raised on the bench, its judges cannot decide a case, he said, adding that the apex court should have constituted the full court for hearing election petition.

He said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan is sitting peacefully at his home, while his party workers are facing trials.

About his case, he said that he appears before the court in the NAB case every week but the hearing of the case could not move forward. The courts take suo motu notices, therefore, courts need to also take suo motu notice of non-hearing of the cases. He said that his case could not move forward today as it’s the fourth time that the judge, who was hearing the case, has been changed.

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 include Abbasi, former 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 SamadDawood.

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

The bureau has nominated Abbasi, Abdul KhaqanAbbasi 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.

The other accused include Aamir Naseem, former member of Oil Ogra, Uzma Adil Khan, chairperson of Ogra, Shahid M Islam, former MD PSO, and Abdul Samad Dawood, Director Engro Corporation Limited, Hussain Dawood Chairman Engro Corporaton Limited, 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, 2023


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