LHC extends pre-arrest bail of Khawajas

Updated 15 Nov 2018

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The Khwaja brothers appeared before a division bench along with their counsel with a request for extension in the concession of bail. — INP/File photo
The Khwaja brothers appeared before a division bench along with their counsel with a request for extension in the concession of bail. — INP/File photo

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday extended interim pre-arrest bail of former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique for 15 days, restraining the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting the two PML-N leaders.

The Khwaja brothers appeared before a division bench along with their counsel with a request for extension in the concession of bail.

The NAB had initiated an inquiry against the Khawaja brothers in Paragon City case. Saad Rafique is also facing inquiries regarding railways and Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme.

In their bail petitions, Mr Rafique and Mr Salman said they had nothing to do with the Paragon City.

The petitioners said they had already provided the NAB with all information required by the interrogators but they were being summoned time and again with mala fide intention.They contended that the NAB had lost its credibility and its independence had been compromised for irrelevant consideration.

Meanwhile, the bench headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi also issued notices to the NAB and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on another petition of the Khawaja brothers, seeking transfer of inquiries against them from Lahore to any other regional office of the bureau and controversial media interviews of its Lahore Director General, Shahzad Saleem.

The counsel for the petitioners argued that the NAB DG had become a party to cases against the PML-N leaders and also showed his prejudice in his recent controversial interviews to different television channels.

He asked the court to order transfer of the inquiries from NAB-Lahore DG to any other region for disposal in accordance with law and also direct the NAB chairman to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the respondent for violating public servants code of conduct.

The bench issued notice to the respondents for Nov 26.

Talking to the media at the LHC, Saad Rafique said the NAB-Lahore DG stated distorted facts about the cases against the PML-N leaders on television. He alleged the NAB officer had nurtured a grudge against the party leaders and was subjecting them to vindictive actions. The incumbent government was equally involved in victimisation of the opposition parties, he added.

He further alleged that the NAB had been pressurising people into becoming approvers in inquiries against the PML-N leaders.

“We are being forcibly made owners of a housing scheme,” he said.

He said the system would not survive if the elected people were continued to be humiliated.

“Every action has a reaction and silence is not permanent,” he added.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2018