Ahsan moves IHC for relief against NAB reference

Published April 6, 2022
This file photo shows  PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal. — DawnNewsTv/File
This file photo shows PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal. — DawnNewsTv/File

ISLAMABAD: PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) challenging an accountability court’s decision to reject his plea for quashing a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference against him over the alleged misuse of power as a former planning and development minister.

The accountability court had dismissed Mr Iqbal’s petition on February 22.

In the reference filed in November 2020, the anti-graft watchdog had accused the former minister of misusing authority by funding a provincial government project in his constituency, Narowal Sports City, and illegally increasing its scope from Rs34.75 million to Rs3 billion.

The project valuing Rs34.74m was approved by the Central Development Working Party when Mr Iqbal headed it as the planning minister. However, it was shelved by the Pakistan Sports Board in 1999 on the directives of the planning ministry, which declared it ‘without requisite weightage with respect to economic necessity’.

The project was re-launched in 2009 when it was approved at a cost of Rs732m, but it was devolved to the Punjab government two years later after the introduction of 18th Constitution Amendment.

Mr Iqbal was arrested by NAB in December 2019 and remained in custody for two months.

He pleaded innocent to the charge, but NAB accused him of launching the project in his Narowal constituency by misusing his office as the planning and development minister during the PML-N government.

He also faced the charge of escalating the project’s cost.

In the petition filed in the Islamabad High Court under Section 265-K of the Criminal Procedure Code, the former minister has contended that Article 164 of the Constitution allowed the federal government to fund the provincial governments’ projects.

He said the Narowal Sports City project was executed after the federal government formally approved it.

Alleging that NAB had filed the reference against him as part of the ruling PTI’s campaign to victimise political opponents, Mr Iqbal requested the high court to quash the reference.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Losing grip
Updated 29 Jan, 2023

Losing grip

The state and the government are responsible for providing Imran with the security he deserves as a former prime minister.
Telling silence
29 Jan, 2023

Telling silence

THE silence of the Sindh government over the recent exposé in this paper about Karachi’s water tanker mafia ...
Palestine escalation
29 Jan, 2023

Palestine escalation

THE fire of conflict once again threatens to envelop the land of Palestine, as the growing cycle of violence refuses...
IMF package
Updated 28 Jan, 2023

IMF package

While it is crucial to seek immediate IMF funding to shore up its reserves, the govt shouldn’t focus only on short-term relief.
Dar unpegged
28 Jan, 2023

Dar unpegged

IT is over. Nearly four months after Ishaq Dar descended on the cash-strapped economy with some decidedly outlandish...
Lurking hazards
28 Jan, 2023

Lurking hazards

OVERSIGHT of illegal industrial activity occurring within residential areas in the country is weak, especially in...