ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has dropped its plan to file a petition in the Supreme Court to reopen the liquefied natural gas (LNG) case against Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The party decided to raise the issue in the parliament instead of pressing the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to reopen the inquiry into Mr Abbasi’s alleged role in awarding a Rs220 billion contract for the import and distribution of LNG in 2013.

“The NAB has to play its due role, otherwise people will come to the streets for accountability of corrupt leaders,” PTI chairman Imran Khan said in a programme at a private news channel on Thursday.

“People will come out [to protest] as they demand across-the-board accountability,” he said, adding that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government would not be able to complete its five-year term.

Mr Khan said the PML-N government was unlikely to continue for long as it was a “family party” and after the ouster of Nawaz Sharif they were unable to find a leader to become a permanent prime minister.

Interestingly, a few days ago PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry had said the PTI would definitely file a petition in the Supreme Court for reinvestigating the LNG case.

Talking to Dawn on Thursday, PTI leader Asad Omar said his party had no plans to take the case to the court as it was NAB’s responsibility to reopen the LNG case.

“The NAB closed down the inquiry against Khaqan Abbasi despite the fact that it was confirmed that the contract was awarded with irregularities,” he said.

In the inquiry, he said, the NAB had suggested that the names of all those accused in the case — including the interim prime minister —should be placed on the Exit Control List.

Mr Omar said that first the issue of LNG case would be taken to parliament and in the coming session of the National Assembly the matter would be raised.

When contacted again to confirm the party’s decision, Mr Chaudhry said: “We have asked NAB to take action. If the bureau does not reopen the case, we will raise the issue in parliament and if parliament does not respond we will have no option but to move the apex court.”

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2017

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