KARACHI: An accountability court on Monday indicted Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani and 18 others in a reference pertaining to alleged unlawful accumulation of assets worth Rs1.61 billion.
Mr Durrani, a senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau in an Islamabad hotel on Feb 20, 2019 for investigation into his alleged movable and immovable assets beyond his known sources of income, making 352 illegal appointments, embezzlement of public funds in the construction of the MPA Hostel and the new Sindh Assembly building as well as the appointment of project directors for these schemes.
NAB had named Mr Durrani, his spouse, children, brother and others for allegedly possessing assets worth around Rs1.61bn made through illegal means.
On Monday, the matter came up before Judge Dr Sher Bano Karim of the Accountability Court-III, who read out charges to the accused persons. However, they pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the case.
An ATC acquits five MQM leaders in two cases pertaining to facilitating and listening to Altaf Hussain’s speech
The judge summoned the prosecution witnesses on the next date to record their testimonies.
NAB named Mr Durrani, his wife Naheed, son Shahbaz, daughters Sanam, Sonya, Shahana and Sara, brother Agha Masihuddin, Zulfiqar Dahar, Shamshad Khatoon, Munawwar Ali, Ghulam Murtaza, Mohammad Irfan, Shakeel Soomro, Gulbahar Baloch, Aslam Langah, Tufail Shah, Mitha Khan, Mohammad Shah and Gulzar Ahmed for allegedly indulging in corruption and corrupt practices by colluding with each other.
It alleged that Mr Durrani after becoming Sindh local government minister and then the speaker of the provincial assembly accumulated assets and pecuniary resources through illegal means and in connivance with the others named in the reference.
It stated that the named persons had committed an offence of corruption as defined in Sections 9(a)(iii)(iv)(v)(xii) and 10 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.
Five MQM leaders acquitted
An antiterrorism court exonerated on Monday five senior leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement from charges pertaining to allegedly facilitating and listening to an alleged hate speech of their London-based party chief Altaf Hussain in 2015.
Dr Farooq Sattar, Wasim Akhtar, Qamar Mansoor, Khawaja Izharul Hasan and Rauf Siddiqui along with nearly 200 party workers were charged with facilitating and listening to Mr Hussain’s speech against the country’s security establishment.
On Monday, the ATC-X judge pronounced his verdict reserved after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.
The judge noted that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations levelled against the MQM leaders.
The judge allowed applications filed by five MQM leaders under Section 265-K of the criminal procedure code (CrPC) seeking their acquittal in two identical cases registered at the Sohrab Goth police station.
According to the prosecution, complainants Hashim Khan and Habibullah Haji Rajpar alleged that on July 12, 2015 different channels aired a speech by Mr Hussain against the country and its armed forces, including the army and the Rangers.
The prosecution further alleged that Mr Hussain tried to incite his party workers for terrorism in the country.
The complainants had named Dr Sattar, Mr Akhtar, Mr Siddiqui, Khwaja Izhar, Mr Mansoor, Rehan Hashmi, Amir Khan, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Rashid Godil, Gul Faraz Khattak, Salman Mujahid, Abdul Qadir Khanzada, Khushbakht Shujaat, Shahid Pasha, Kanwar Naveed and nearly 200 party workers in the cases.
Around 26 identical cases were registered under relevant sections of the law at the Artillery Maidan, Malir City, Sohrab Goth and other police stations by many individuals.
Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2020