LAHORE: An accountability court on Saturday extended the interim pre-arrest bail of former chief minister Usman Buzdar in an inquiry of illegal assets by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) with a warning to him to join the investigation without fail.
Buzdar did not appear before the court as his counsel sought a one-time exemption from appearance saying his client was in Dera Ghazi Khan to attend his ailing mother and could not make it to Lahore due to the blockade of roads in the province.
Judge Sajjad Ahmad Sheikh allowed the application of Buzdar and asked the investigating officer of the NAB about the progress in the investigation.
The officer told the judge that Buzdar neither joined the investigation nor submitted the details of his assets.
Told to join investigation without fail
Buzdar’s counsel requested for more time to furnish the details to the NAB.
The judge observed that the petitioner was neither cooperating in the investigation nor appearing before the court regularly. He warned the petitioner’s counsel of serious consequences if his client continued the practice.
The judge extended the bail of Buzdar till May 18 giving last opportunity to him to join the investigation.
Initially, Buzdar secured pre-arrest bail on Nov 19, 2022, which he withdrew on Dec 13 as the investigating officer of the NAB said warrants for the arrest had not been issued.
Later, Buzdar again approached the court on Feb 16, 2023 and obtained the bail fearing his arrest in the inquiry.
In his bail petition, Buzdar submitted that the NAB with mala fide intention and in connivance with the incumbent federal government had been politically victimising him. He said all the allegations against him were baseless.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2023