LNG case: SHC approves protective bail for Miftah; NAB gets physical remand of Abbasi

Updated July 19, 2019

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PML-N leader Miftah Ismail on Friday submitted a bail  application at the Sindh High Court (SHC). — DawnNewsTV
PML-N leader Miftah Ismail on Friday submitted a bail application at the Sindh High Court (SHC). — DawnNewsTV

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday granted PML-N leader Miftah Ismail seven-day protective bail, a day after National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Javed Iqbal signed his arrest warrants and dispatched teams in Karachi and Islamabad to take the former finance minister into custody.

Meanwhile, an accountability court in Islamabad granted NAB 13-day physical remand of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was arrested on Thursday by a 12-member NAB team in the LNG (liquefied natural gas) import contract case.

Ismail granted protective bail

Ismail had submitted a bail application at the SHC early on Friday, a copy of which was received by Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro's staff.

Advocate Haider Waheed, who appeared as Ismail's counsel, said that the case was based in Islamabad and requested protective bail so that the PML-N leader could contact the relevant court.

While accepting his application for bail, the SHC also asked Ismail to submit a surety bond worth Rs500,000.

In an informal conversation with media, the PML-N leader said there was no need for NAB to conduct raids, adding that he had received the court's summons after 3pm yesterday. He said whenever the accountability bureau had summoned him, he had appeared before it.

A NAB team was at the SHC premises today, where Ismail and former managing director of Pakistan State Oil Sheikh Imranul Haque, for whom arrest warrants were also issued, appeared.

Abbasi's physical remand

Meanwhile, former premier Abbasi was presented before accountability judge Mohammad Bashir. NAB requested 14-day physical remand of the PML-N leader.

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at an accountability court in Islamabad on Friday. — DawnNewsTV
Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at an accountability court in Islamabad on Friday. — DawnNewsTV

During proceedings, Abbasi said: "They are seeking remand, give them remand."

"I have fully cooperated with NAB, but I was still arrested," he complained, adding: "I know why they are asking for remand."

The former prime minister asked the court to grant NAB 90-day physical remand. However, judge Bashir said that on the basis of the law, 90-day remand could not be granted in one go.

The court instead granted the accountability bureau 13-day remand of the former premier.

Abbasi arrested

Abbasi was arrested by a 12-member NAB team on Thursday.

The team had intercepted Abbasi’s car at Thokar Niaz Baig interchange in Lahore, close to the bureau’s provincial headquarters, when he was coming from Islamabad along with PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal and information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb.

The leaders were heading to a press conference of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in Model Town.

The PML-N had termed the arrest to be the continuation of the 'worst political victimisation' at the behest of Prime Minister Imran Khan and said it would continue raising voice against the "inept PTI government’s anti-people policies" even if the "NAB-Niazi unholy alliance" put all PML-N leaders behind bars.

Hours after the arrest of the former premier, NAB officials had raided Ismail's residence in Karachi’s DHA but returned empty-handed as the former finance minister was not found at home.

Though there was no word from NAB officials about the motive behind the raid and its link with Abbasi’s arrest, a senior leader of the PML-N, Mohammad Zubair, said that personnel of the anti-graft watchdog had searched Miftah’s residence.

"I went to his [Miftah’s] house when I came to know that there were NAB officials outside the residence," Zubair told Dawn. "At around 6:30pm NAB officials with women personnel went inside his house and carried out a detailed search. He was not there. He has not been in contact with his family or any PML-N member as his phone has remained switched off since afternoon. We and his family are concerned about him and no one yet knows his whereabouts."