ISLAMABAD: Former federal minister Akram Khan Durrani on Tuesday filed a petition before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking pre-arrest bail in multiple inquiries initiated against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Mr Durrani, a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), claims that he is being victimised for playing a key role in the Azadi March to be launched by his party on Oct 27 against the government of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
In his petition the JUI-F leader stated that he is “being victimised and harassed by the respondents [the chairman, deputy director and investigation officer Nadeem Fraz of NAB] although he is cooperating with them and will continue to do so. However, the pace at which all three inquiries are being carried out, his arrest before he could further garner support from other opposition parties for Azadi March is very likely.”
Mr Durrani is facing inquiries for alleged corruption in two housing projects of the Federal Government Housing Foundation, appointment of blue-eyed officers in the Pakistan Housing Authority Foundation, allotment of ‘out of turn’ plots for mosques and induction in the Pakistan Public Works Department (PWD).
The petitioner states that he “belongs to Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F which is to lead the Azadi March against the government from Oct 27” and a Rehbar Committee was formed for coordination and preparation of the protest.
“The petitioner has been playing an instrumental role in the Rehbar Committee and has in fact been representing his party at some of these meetings of the committee,” the petition said, adding that the government “just to disturb political activities” is behind the inquiries.
The petitioner said that NAB “since its formation in 1999 has primarily been serving as a tool of political engineering and a way of silencing dissenting voices”.
He expressed apprehensions that NAB may be used against the Azadi March’s organisers.
The petitioner said that he “believes in accountability and hence has been cooperating with the respondents, however, when the petitioner was in Quetta, due to his political activities he learnt that his warrants of arrest have been issued by NAB to stop him from gathering support from different political parties on the grab of accountability”.
According to the petition, the Balochistan High Court on Oct 10 granted Mr Durrani protective bail and NAB is planning to arrest him as soon as the protective bail granted would expire.
With regard to NAB’s inquiries Mr Durrani clarified in his petition that he is not concerned with the recruitment process carried out by the ministry of housing and works or its attached departments since he was not an appointing authority.
The petition claimed that there were vacant positions in the PWD for about a decade and he ensured the inductions without further delay.
Mr Durrani stated in the petition that he is one of the most senior politicians of the country and has always performed his duty in accordance with law as chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and also as federal minister.
Mr Durrani requested the court to grant him bail before arrest in all three inquiries.
A division bench of the IHC comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb will hear the petition on Wednesday.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2019