ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal submitted before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday that he would not avail any benefit of the newly-promulgated law on the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the reference on alleged corruption in Narowal Sports Complex (NSC).

During the hearing on the petition seeking acquittal in the NSC reference, Mr Iqbal approached the rostrum and submitted before the IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan that the reference was filed against him on the behest of previous regime in connivance with the officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and it virtually turned a much needed sports project into a haunted house.

He requested the bench to seek evidence from NAB of any corruption in this project adding that the NSC project was initiated after obtaining approvals from the appropriate forums.

Iqbal said the NAB accused him of Rs2 billion corruption, whereas the amount has never been released for this project so far. Justice Farooq inquired the counsel about progress on this project.

The court was told that the NSC is near completion, the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) abandoned this project after NAB had initiated an inquiry.

Talking to the media persons after attending the court’s proceeding, Iqbal reiterated his stance that he wanted decision on his acquittal plea on merit instead of the newly promulgated NAB law.

He accused NAB and the previous regime of wasting the resources of sports project.

He criticised former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan for launching social media assault against Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and army.

Iqbal blamed Imran Khan for the recent hike in the price of petroleum product and said that ex premier accepted tough condition of International Monitory Fund (IMF) but later backtracked and the new government had to suffer the backlash.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2022

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