Ex-PM gets bail in PSO appointment case

Updated May 20, 2020

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Abbasi procures protective bail after Karachi accountability court issues arrest warrants. — AFP/File
Abbasi procures protective bail after Karachi accountability court issues arrest warrants. — AFP/File

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court granted interim pre-arrest bail till June 9 to former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former petroleum secretary Arshad Mirza on Tuesday on a charge of illegal appointments to two key posts in the Pakistan State Oil (PSO).

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed a reference against Mr Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Mr Mirza, accusing them of appointing Sheikh Imranul Haq as managing director and Yaqoob Sattar as deputy managing director (finance) of the PSO in violation of rules and regulations.

The former premier and the petroleum secretary had obtained protective bail from the Islamabad High Court after an accountability court in Karachi issued warrants for their arrest.

The petitioners, through their lawyer Khawaja Naveed Ahmed, approached the SHC for pre-arrest bail and contended that the allegations were baseless and they were willing to approach the trial court to face the charges.

The counsel argued that his clients had made no violation in making the two appointments and caused no monetary loss to the exchequer.

After a preliminary hearing, a two-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh, granted interim bail against a surety bond of Rs500,000 each till June 9.

The bench directed both the petitioners to appear before the trial court and issued notice to the NAB prosecutor for the next hearing.

The federal anti-graft watchdog had alleged in the reference that the former prime minister and the then petroleum secretary had misused their authority while appointing the managing director and the deputy managing director (finance) of the PSO.

The apex court had ordered NAB to probe these appointments.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2020