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Dr Arbab Alamgir and Asma Alamgir talk to mediapersons after appearing in the accountability court in Peshawar on Thursday. — White Star
Dr Arbab Alamgir and Asma Alamgir talk to mediapersons after appearing in the accountability court in Peshawar on Thursday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: An accountability court here on Thursday indicted former federal minister Dr Arbab Alamgir and his wife and former MNA, Asma Alamgir, for possessing assets to the tune of Rs332 Million which are allegedly disproportionate to their known sources of income.

The couple decided to stand trial leading not guilty to the charge.

Judge Ishtiaq Ahmad summoned four prosecution witnesses on Jan 24 and adjourned hearing until then.

Dr Arbab Alamgir, Asma plead not guilty, resent NAB’s ‘witch-hunt’ against opposition

Dr Arbab, who remained the federal minister for communication from 2008 to 2013, and Ms Asma, appeared before the court as the PPP members showed up in large numbers.

The policemen were deputed near the accountability courts situated along the Khyber Road.

The National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, had filed a joint reference against the couple alleging that they had accumulated moveable and immovable assets to the tune of Rs 332 million, on their names as well as names of their dependents and benamidars.

However, the couple claimed innocence and said all their assets were acquired through known sources.

The reference claimed that the inquiry was authorized on Nov 4, 2015, and was subsequently converted into investigation with the approval of the NAB’s executive board on Jan 12, 2018.

The NAB claimed that during investigation it surfaced that the accused had accumulated movable and immovable assets, including a house in Section G-11/ 3, Islamabad, 10 kanals land at Mauza Shah Allah Ditta, Islamabad, a bungalow in F-7/2, Islamabad, prize bonds, a luxurious vehicle and several bank accounts.

It added that the reference was pertaining to the assets in Pakistan, whereas the supplementary reference regarding their foreign assets would be filed after the receipt of documentary evidence through the Mutual Legal Assistance from other countries.

On Nov 8, 2018, the Peshawar High Court had disposed of a petition filed by Ms Asma, who was the adviser to then prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, against issuance of frequent call-up notices to her by NAB KP.

She had claimed that neither the NAB had been filing a reference nor was it clearing her of the charges. She had added that the inquiry against her had been in progress for around four years.

The court had directed the NAB to complete within 45 days the ongoing inquiry against her. In the light of directives given by the high court the NAB had filed the instant reference.

After the hearing, Dr Arbab told reporters that his forefathers had possessed assets for the last two centuries and that leveling allegations against him of possessing illegal assets was a big joke.

He said he had informed the NAB about all his assets, which he had declared from time-to-time and none of his assets were undeclared.

Ms Asma criticised NAB for what she called a witch hunt started against opposition leaders.

She said while a concocted case had been made up against her and her husband, the NAB on other hand had been extending favours to corrupt elements supporting the government.

The former MNA said the NAB had closed cases against Punjab Assembly’s speaker regarding illegal plots allotment by Lahore Development Authority, but had filed a reference against her despite the fact that she and her husband had wholeheartedly served the people.

Ms Asma said she was not against accountability but were opposed to targeting of the people in the garb of accountability.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019