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Notice to NAB on Khwajas’ bail pleas for budget sessions

Updated June 11, 2019

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The Khwaja brothers are in jail on judicial remand since Feb 2. — Dawn/File
The Khwaja brothers are in jail on judicial remand since Feb 2. — Dawn/File

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on petitions of former minister for railways Khwaja Saad Rafiq and his brother former provincial minister Khwaja Salman Rafiq seeking temporary bail to attend upcoming budget sessions of the national and provincial assemblies, respectively.

The Khwaja brothers are in jail on judicial remand since Feb 2 last for their alleged involvement in Paragon City scam.

Pleading the petitions, the counsel for the two brothers contended before a two-judge bench that his clients were supposed to attend the upcoming budget sessions following production orders by speakers of the relevant assemblies.

However, he said the parliamentarians would not be able to consult economists or budget experts during their release on production orders. And such consultation was critical to present recommendations during the budget sessions, he added.

Therefore, the counsel asked the court that the petitioners should be released on temporary bail enabling them to attend the budget sessions in an effective manner.

The bench issued notice to the NAB and adjourned hearing for June 11 (today). Main bail petitions of the Khwaja brothers are also pending before the bench.

The NAB had arrested them on Dec 11, 2018 after the LHC withdrew the pre-arrest bail they enjoyed for almost three months.

The bureau recently filed a reference against the Khwaja brothers accusing them of wrongfully gaining Rs18.2 million approximately from M/s Paragon City (pvt) Limited in their bank accounts.

The reference said the Khwaja brothers through their “benamidars” and with the abetment of former MPA Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia established a housing project in the name of Air Avenue.

The project was later converted into a new housing project namely Paragon City (pvt) Ltd, which the NAB said was an illegal society and not approved by the Lahore Development Authority.

The NAB alleged that the suspects along with other accomplices cheated public at large and obtained illegal financial benefits from the funds of the illegal society.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2019