Pre-arrest bail of former PM Abbasi extended in PSO appointments case

Updated 10 Jun 2020

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Former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's says his client has tested positive for Covid-19 and moved an application to condone his absence. — AP/File
Former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's says his client has tested positive for Covid-19 and moved an application to condone his absence. — AP/File

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday extended till Aug 27 the interim pre-arrest bail of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former petroleum secretary Arshad Mirza in a case of alleged illegal appointments on two key posts of the Pakistan State Oil (PSO).

When the bail applications came up for hearing before a two-judge bench headed by Justice Omar Sial, the lawyer for the former prime minister, Khawaja Naveed Ahmed, informed the bench that his client had been tested positive for Covid-19 and moved an application to condone his absence.

The lawyer further submitted that the former prime minister was in quarantine in Islamabad and unable to appear before the court.

The bench extended the interim pre-arrest bail of both the petitioners till Aug 27 and directed them to appear before it on the next date of hearing.

Last month, the SHC had granted interim bail to the former premier and the then petroleum secretary against a surety bond of Rs500,000 each till June 9 and directed them to appear before the trial court.

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

The former PM and the secretary had obtained protective bail from the Islamabad High Court after an accountability court in Karachi had issued warrants for their arrest. Later, they approached the SHC for pre-arrest bail.

PSM employees move SHC

Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) employees on Tuesday approached the SHC against a recent decision of the government to terminate their services.

The petitioners, through senior counsel Rasheed A. Razvi, challenged the government decision to retrench all the remaining employees of the PSM.

The SHC has allowed their application seeking urgent hearing of the petition and fixed the matter for hearing before a division bench for June 15.

Last week, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet had approved the retrenchment of all the 9,350 remaining employees of PSM with a one-time severance cost of about Rs20 billion.

The petitioners submitted that in 2006 the Supreme Court had issued some directions in the case of PSM, adding that the apex court ruled that before its privatisation, this issue should be brought before the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

They sought a restraining order for the federal authorities from taking any illegal action against the petitioners.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2020