KARACHI: Former prime minister and senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi criticised on Monday the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority Bill 2020 saying the parliament was being used for a selected few to pave the way for their escape from accountability.
Talking to reporters after his appearance before an accountability court here, he said it was ironic that a government which itself boasted the claim of across-the-board accountability was restraining the National Accountability Bureau from taking action against “corruption” in CPEC.
He asked if NAB was doing such a great job then why was it being barred from taking a peek in CPEC Authority’s affairs.
He alleged that those involved in corruption were roaming scot-free while others who launched the “business corridor project” were facing trials.
A prosecution witness partially deposes before an accountability court trying former PM, others
Referring to last month’s arrest of retired Captain Safdar in Karachi, Mr Abbasi said that two weeks on, no one yet knew why the chief of the Sindh police was abducted and by whom.
He urged the Supreme Court to take notice of the incident so that the people should know the real faces of those behind such an unfortunate episode.
He said that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government seemed interested only in taking jibes at the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement alliance while the country was facing all-time high inflation and the poverty index had touched the sky.
Earlier, an accountability court partially recorded the statement of a prosecution witness in a reference against former prime minister Abbasi and others pertaining to alleged illegal appointment of the managing director and deputy managing director of Pakistan State Oil (PSO).
NAB had filed a reference against Mr Abbasi and former petroleum secretary Arshad Mirza for appointing Sheikh Imranul Haq as MD and Yaqoob Sattar as deputy managing director of the PSO allegedly in violation of rules and regulations.
On Monday, witness Rashid Umer Shaikh, the company secretary of PSO, appeared in court for recording his testimony.
After partially recording his statement, the judge fixed the matter for Nov 20 and adjourned the hearing.
The accountability court had indicted former PM Abbasi, Mr Mirza, Mr Haq and Mr Sattar for allegedly causing a loss of Rs138.96 million to the national exchequer.
According to NAB, Mr Abbasi as minister for petroleum and natural resources in connivance with Mr Mirza misused his authority while appointing Mr Haq as MD and Sattar as DMD in violation of the rules and regulations and at exorbitant salaries ranging between Rs3 to Rs5 million per month.
The inquiry into this case was conducted on the orders of the Supreme Court. It found that Haq had a conflict of interest with the PSO due to a liquefied natural gas import agreement with his previous employer, Engro Corporation, of which he served as the senior vice president.
He also allegedly promoted Sattar to the post of DMD out of the way and within a month of his joining.
Ex-PPL officials to be indicted on 11th
Meanwhile, Judge Suresh Kumar of the Accountability Court-IV fixed Nov 11 for the indictment of four former officials of Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) in a $121.6 million corruption case.
NAB had filed a reference nominating former managing director/chief executive officer of PPL Asim Murtaza Khan, general manager Abdul Wahid, deputy MD Moin Raza Khan, chief economist Rahat Hussain, financial adviser Khaqan Saadullah and Pavel Marek, owner and director of M/s Moravske Naftove Doly, as accused.
The investigating officer submitted a compliance report regarding execution of a non-bailable warrant for arrest of Marek, who is a citizen of Czech Republic.
The IO said that the warrant could not be served on the suspect and requested for more time to do so.
Allowing the IO’s request, the judge also repeated NBW for the arrest of Marek and fixed the matter for indictment of the ex-PPL officials on the next date of hearing.
NAB filed a reference pertaining to alleged corruption of $121.6m in PPL through acquisition of assets of a United Kingdom-based oil and gas exploration company.
Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2020