ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was approached on Monday for the early hearing of an appeal against Khusro Bakhtiar, the federal Minister for Industries and Production, and Punjab’s Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht in a corruption case.
The application, moved by Advocate Muhammad Ahsan Abid, sought fixing of his original appeal at an early date, preferably next week, against a verdict given by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Oct 20 last year that rejected his plea against the two ministers.
The original appeal was filed in December.
The fresh application pleaded that the matter related to fundamental rights and equality before the law. The respondents’ conduct posed a threat to these principles, the advocate contended.
The appellant argued that since Khusro Bakhtiar and Hashim Jawan Bakht had allegedly made assets beyond their known sources of income, his application was of public interest and deserved early adjudication by the Supreme Court.
Ahsan Abid had filed the case in the Supreme Court in December against an Oct 20 decision by the IHC to reject a petition in which he named as respondents National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal, the Multan NAB chief and ministers Khusro Bakhtiar and Hashim Jawan Bakht.
According to the petitioner, he had contested the 2018 general election from a constituency in Rahimyar Khan (NA- 177) and filed a quo warranto writ petition in the IHC under Article 199 of the Constitution. The petition was dismissed on Oct 20 last year.
Ahsan Abid said in his appeal that he had filed a complaint before the NAB chairman against “corruption and corrupt practices” of the respondents. The chairman forwarded the complaint to the director general (DG) of Multan NAB for verification.
Mr Abid said that according to the DG’s report, the entire family of the industries minister owned 5,720 kanals of agricultural land in Rahim Yar Khan district before he became a member of the National Assembly.
This was the only source of their income, he added.
But after Khusro Bakhtiar became minister in 2004, the assets in the name of those members of his family who held no public office ballooned to billions of rupees.
Mr Bakhtiar accumulated assets in the name of his mother, brothers and their wives, according to the petitioner.
The assets included Etihad Sugar Mills in Rahim Yar Khan, Two Star Sugar Mills and Shahtaj Sugar Mills, five power generation companies, four capital investment companies and an ethanol processing plant, he added.
Ahsan Abid said the Khusro family’s agricultural property had shot up to 7,780 kanals from 5,702 kanals and it purchased a number of residential houses and plots in different cities of the country.
The family received Rs797 million in remittances from abroad during a seven-year period from 2011 to 2018, the petitioner added.
Before filing the petition in the IHC, Ahsan Abid said, he had submitted applications to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the NAB chairman and the NAB DG, but no action was taken against the respondent family.
Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2021