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Gilani refuses to appear before NAB officials

July 19, 2013
Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. — File Photo
Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani again refused on Thursday to appear before officials of the National Accountability Bureau investigating a case relating to appointment of Tauqeer Sadiq as chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority. It was for the fourth time that Mr Gilani has refused to meet NAB investigators under summons issued to him.

He said that being a former prime minister he enjoyed immunity and could not be summoned by an investigation agency.

“We summoned Mr Gilani on Thursday in connection with illegal appointment of Tauqeer Sadiq,” NAB spokesman Ramzan Sajid said, adding that the former prime minister had already defied three NAB notices and on Thursday again he did not visit the headquarters to record his statement.

A NAB official said that after the arrest of Mr Sadiq the investigators wanted to match his statements with that of Mr Gilani.

Another former prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, has also been accused of being involved in the appointment as chairman of the interview board.

The official said that under the NAB Ordinance a person defying three consecutive notices of the bureau was liable to be arrested.

But, according to legal observers, Mr Gilani cannot be arrested because an arrest order has to be approved or signed by the NAB chairman. But the office has been vacant for about two months since removal of retired Admiral Fasih Bokhari by the Supreme Court on May 28.

According to sources, an accountability court in Rawalpindi has been informed about the former prime minister’s stance.

But again, the NAB spokesman said, the accountability courts usually issued arrest orders in such cases on complaints signed by the chairman.

Mr Sadiq was arrested by Abu Dhabi police on intervention of Interpol and brought to the country. An accountability court handed him over to NAB on 14-day physical remand which will end on July 23.

The former prime minister has already submitted his reply to investigators’ queries.

The sources said he had rejected the allegations but agreed to be of help in the investigation.

Our Staff Reporter adds from Lahore: Mr Gilani said in a statement issue here that the constitution provided complete immunity to the prime minister and, therefore, he was not accountable to any law-enforcement agency for what he had done as the chief executive of the country. “I have performed my duties as then premier in good faith.”

He said he had taken a similar stance regarding immunity of the president.

He said people were asking why only cases relating to the president, him and his family were being pursued.

He said he would like to know what action was taken to implement the Asghar Khan case verdict.