KARACHI: Without entertaining former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s second application to exempt him from personal appearance until he himself comes to the court, an accountability court on Wednesday summoned the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader, on May 14, in a fresh reference pertaining to alleged illegal appointment of a managing director and a deputy managing director of the Pakistan State Oil (PSO).
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a reference against PML-N leader Abbasi and former petroleum secretary Arshad Mirza for allegedly appointing Sheikh Imranul Haq as managing director and Yaqoob Sattar as deputy managing director (finance) of the PSO in violation of rules.
Admitting the reference on March 26, the administrative judge of the accountability courts had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Mr Abbasi and Mr Mirza.
The NAB investigating officer was directed to arrest and produce them before the court on April 10, when the counsel for the suspects had pleaded to the judge to exempt them from personal appearance before the court since they could not travel to Karachi because of the ongoing lockdown.
Without entertaining their plea for exemption until they personally appear before the court, the administrative judge, Dr Sher Bano Karim, had summoned former premier Abbasi and former secretary Mirza on April 15.
On Wednesday, Advocate Khawaja Naveed Ahmed filed a fresh application on behalf of the former premier and the former secretary, stating that both suspects had obtained protective pre-arrest bail from the Islamabad High Court till May 12 and intended to travel to Karachi to join the trial proceedings. But, the counsel added, his clients were still unable to do so as all means of transport were suspended following the lockdown. Therefore, he requested the judge to exempt them from personal appearance in the court till the next date of hearing.
Show-cause notice to IO discharged
Special public prosecutor Shahbaz Sahotra filed a reply on behalf of the investigating officer of the case in response to a show-cause notice issued to him on the last date to explain why he may not be proceeded against for not complying with the court’s directives for submitting to it copies of the reference for supplying them to the suspects, as required under Section 265-C of the Criminal Procedure Code.
In his reply, IO Adnan Hafeez Abbasi stated that on March 26 the court gave him time till April 10 to provide copies of the reference to the suspects.
But the process of photocopying the record could not be completed in the given time due to the non-availability of public and official transport and support staff in the office, he added.
Accepting the reply, the judge discharged the show-cause notice with a caution to the IO to be careful in the future.
Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2020