KARACHI: An accountability court on Tuesday repeated non-bailable warrants for the arrest of the wife and five children of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in a reference pertaining to alleged accumulation of over Rs1.61 billion assets beyond lawful sources of income.
Mr Durrani, a senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau in an Islamabad hotel on Feb 20 for investigation into his alleged movable and immovable assets beyond his known sources of income, making 352 illegal appointments, embezzlement of public funds in the construction of the MPA Hostel and the new Sindh Assembly building, as well as the appointment of project directors for these schemes.
On Tuesday, the speaker was produced before Judge Farid Anwar Qazi of the Accountability Court-IV. Seven other suspects — Tufail Ahmed Sheikh, Mitha Khan, Gulzar Ahmed, Shamshad Khatoon, Agha Masihuddin Khan Durrani and Zulfiqar Ali Dahar — appeared on bail.
However, Mr Durrani’s wife, his four daughters, a son and other suspects did not turn up.
NAB says Sindh Assembly speaker’s wife and three daughters have fled to US
The judge inquired from NAB’s investigating officer Asif Raza about the progress with regard to execution of the non-bailable arrest warrant issued by the court against the alleged absconders on Oct 12.
Special Public Prosecutor Shahbaz Sahotra filed a compliance report stating that the court’s notices could not be served on Mr Durrani’s family members at their residence in Phase-V of the Defence Housing Authority in Karachi.
The compliance report mentioned that it had been learnt that the accused persons had absconded to the United States of America.
The report contained the travel history obtained from the Federal Investigation Agency that showed that Mr Durrani’s wife Naheed and daughters — Sonya, Shahana and Sara — had departed for the US from Jinnah International Airport on March 8 and had not returned to Pakistan.
It further stated that Mr Durrani’s son Agha Shahbaz had left for the United Arab Emirates on Feb 18 while his daughter Sanam left for the US on Sept 2, 2018.
The report said that another suspect, Mohammad Irfan, also left for the UAE on May 18, 2018, but did not return.
The prosecutor maintained that the IO wrote a letter to the National Database and Registration Authority requesting it to block the computerised national identity cards of the absconders.
The report further mentioned that letters were written to the superintendents of police in Khairpur and Shikarpur to execute the court’s notices on five other absconders — Syed Mohammad Shah, Gulbahar Lohar Baloch, Shakeel Ahmed Soomro, Ghulam Murtaza and Munawwar Ali — but the police high-ups returned the summons unserved saying they all had gone into hiding to avoid arrest.
After examining the report, the judge reissued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of the five alleged absconders and told the IO to personally visit Khairpur and Shikarpur to arrest them and produce them before the court on the next date of hearing.
The court also ordered the IO to submit a detailed report regarding the family members of Mr Durrani on the next date so that the proceedings regarding their proclamation and attachment of properties could be initiated under Section 87 and 88 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the trial against others could be started.
The matter was fixed for Nov 5.
NAB has booked Mr Durrani’s wife, his five children, a younger brother, Agha Masihuddin Khan Durrani, and his alleged frontmen and abettors in the case.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2019