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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday granted protective bail to former federal minister Arbab Alamgir Khan and his wife Asma Arbab in a corruption reference.

A division bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, granted the 15-day protective bail to the ex-minister for communications and his wife Asma Arbab, who was an adviser to the prime minister on States and Frontier Regions (Safron) during the previous PPP government. The court directed them to appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) inquiry within 48 hours after returning to Pakistan from Dubai, where they are currently living.

The couple is facing a NAB inquiry for possessing assets beyond their known sources of income.

The bail was granted against Rs1.5 million surety bonds each. As per allegations, they made assets in Dubai, London and Pakistan.

Barrister Masroor Shah, the counsel for the couple, argued before the court that the chief of NAB Khyber Pukhtunkhwa in a TV interview had said the former minister and his wife would be arrested immediately after their arrival in Pakistan. Barrister Shah said his clients were intending to return to Pakistan and needed protection from being arrested at the airport.

He told the court that his clients were ready to join the inquiry. They have no reservations about the ongoing inquiry and want to appear and record their statements before the combined investigation team.

The counsel also cited a March 15 order of the IHC in which a division bench had granted protective bail to former Sindh information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon.

He argued that his clients had already provided proofs of their sources of income mostly inherited by Mr Arbab’s late father Arbab Jehangir Khan who had been the chief minister of the then NWFP.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2017