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LAHORE: The 15-year-old case in which former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani was acquitted in 2009 has now been referred to the federal Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to probe.

The PAC will look into the alleged illegal appointments and purchase of luxury cars during Gilani’s tenure as speaker in 1990s.

“The government has referred the audit paras to the PAC under which the National Accountability Bureau in 2001 had arrested me and put me behind bars for five years and subsequently I was acquitted. Are they not tired of putting me on trial on one charge after the other,” Gilani questioned.

Talking to Dawn on Thursday, the former prime minister said in 2001 he and the former Senate chairman were facing audit paras. Audit paras were procedural irregularities and not corruption, he said.

Ex-PM was acquitted in the case in 2009

“Under the law both the cases were supposed to be referred to the PAC but they (then rulers) chose to refer my audit paras to the NAB and the former Senate chairman to the PAC,” he said, questioning ‘different laws of the land for different people’.

“I do not see any logic in sending those audit paras to the PAC (for settlement) in which not only I had undergone 10 years of imprisonment (under the jail manual) but also acquitted in it. It is like hanging someone first and then start his trial,” he said.

“I am already facing a number of cases and still they are not tired of my trial,” the former premier rued.

An accountability court in February 2001 had sentenced Mr Gilani to a 10-year imprisonment and fined him Rs100 million on two charges in a reference filed against him by the NAB.

One of the charges was ‘illegal’ recruitment of 600 people in the National Assembly Secretariat during 1993-96 tenure as speaker.

In the other case, he was accused of using public money to purchase 15 luxury cars that he allegedly put to his ‘personal use’.

Gilani challenged the conviction and in Oct 2006, the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court granted him bail in both cases and ordered his release on two sureties of Rs1 million each.

In February 2009, the Islamabad High Court acquitted Mr Gilani in both corruption cases, declaring the evidence against him insufficient.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2016