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Gilani says ready for arrest

July 24, 2013
Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. — File Photo
Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said he is ready to get arrested and sent to jail if he has done anything illegal.

Talking to reporters outside the Parliament House on Tuesday, Mr Gilani said a perception was being created that he was being protected by the Punjab police. “Today I have come to Islamabad and ready for the arrest if anyone wants to do so,” he said.

Mr Gilani said there was nothing wrong in appointing Tauqir Sadiq as chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), adding that decisions taken by him as prime minister were legal and constitutional and he was not afraid of consequences.

He said as prime minister he appointed not only Sadiq but several other top-ranking officials as well, including the chief justice, army chief, air force chief and chief of the joint staff committee. It would be unfair to regard Sadiq’s appointment illegal and other appointments legal, he added.

Answering a question about the role of the judiciary, the former prime minister said the judiciary should allow the government to function and, at the same time, the government should not interfere in the affairs of courts.

Sources in NAB told Dawn that officials of the bureau were considering to seek accountability court’s help in responding to what Mr Gilani said on Tuesday about his arrest. They said that the former prime minister might be summoned by an accountability court for not cooperating with NAB in the case related to Sadiq’s controversial appointment.

Media reports indicate that during interrogation Sadiq had unveiled names of several people who had played some role in his appointment, including former prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf and former adviser to prime minister for petroleum Dr Asim Hussain.

A senior NAB official who did not want to be named said that under the NAB ordinance the bureau could arrest a person if he or she refused to respond to its three notices but the action would require approval from its chairman. Because the position of NAB chairman was now vacant, he said, the bureau could not issue warrants for the arrest of former prime minister.

On July 16 Mr Gilani defied the forth notice of NAB by saying that being a former prime minister he enjoyed immunity and could not be summoned by any investigation agency.