PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Wednesday extended till February 9 the interim pre-arrest bail earlier granted to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader retired Captain Mohammad Safdar in an ongoing inquiry against him by National Accountability Bureau regarding his assets.

The bench of Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Ijaz Anwar directed Mr Safdar to cooperate with the investigation team and appear before it whenever required.

The bench was hearing a pre-arrest bail petition filed by Mr Safdar stating that the inquiry against him was initiated under political consideration. In October last year, the court had granted interim bail to him on condition of furnishing two sureties of Rs500,000 each.

Advocates Abdul Lateef Afridi and Barrister Mudassir Ameer appeared for the petitioner, who is son-in-law of former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif. They stated that NAB had filed comments in the case and they would file their rejoinder for which they needed time.

Petitioner says NAB has initiated inquiry against him under political consideration

They also objected over hiring of a private counsel, Abdul Sattar Khan, by NAB in the petition, stating that the act of NAB chairman was in violation of a judgment of the Supreme Court prohibiting hiring of private counsels by government institutions.

They stated that the inquiry against their client was based on malafide intensions as he had appeared before the combined investigation team on multiple occasions.

They added that he had provided all information, which the investigation officers had sought but still his arrest warrants were issued by the NAB chairman.

The counsels pointed out that the petitioner had appeared before the investigation team on different occasions and lastly a call-up notice was issued to him on September 17, 2020 that was accompanied by a questionnaire to which he provided a detailed reply.

They stated that on his visit to the NAB office in Peshawar on October 8 in compliance with a call-up notice, he had been provided with a notice regarding issuance of his warrant of arrest. They feared that the petitioner, a former MNA, would be arrested and would face humiliation at the hands of NAB.

They contended that once all the record had been provided to the investigation team and the inquiry was completed, there was no need for the arrest of the petitioner.

The counsels stated that the power of arrest under section 24 NAO was neither absolute nor unfettered and had to be exercised fairly and judiciously within the parameters provided by law.

Meanwhile, Mr Safdar told journalists that the NAB chairman was a controversial figure and he would soon file a reference against him for his removal.

He said that NAB was a good anti-corruption watchdog but its present chairman had made it controversial. He claimed that the strings of NAB had been pulled from somewhere else.

He said that they had been following Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who was chairman of Pakistan Democratic Movement. He added that he had already given replies to all the questions put to him by NAB and it could not prove corruption of a single penny against him.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2021


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