ISLAMABAD: An accountability court here on Thursday extended the physical remand of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi till Aug 15.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) produced Mr Abbasi before the court and requested it to extend his physical remand to investigate a case relating to LNG import.
The ex-premier did not oppose the NAB request and rather offered to the judge to extend his remand.
“They could not find anything so far. I wish if they could find something in future,” Mr Abbasi told the court.
Judge Mohammad Bashir directed NAB to conclude the inquiry as soon as possible. The former prime minister, however, said that NAB should be given ample time.
Since Mr Abbasi did not engage any lawyer to plead his case, the judge suggested to him to hire someone who could properly assist the court. The former PM said he did not want to engage a lawyer.
However, after the court’s proceedings, Mr Abbasi’s sister Sadia Abbasi, who is a lawyer by profession, filed an application saying that while the former prime minister is contesting his case on his own, she wanted to assist him on some legal points.
The court accepted her request.
Mr Abbasi is accused of awarding a 15-year contract for an LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminal in violation of rules when he was petroleum minister in former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet.
The case was closed by NAB in 2016, but was reopened in 2018.
The same court granted transitory remand to Faryal Talpur, a Pakistan Peoples Party leader and sister of party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, till Aug 7.
Advocates Farooq H. Naek and Chaudhry Riaz, representing Ms Talpur, argued that she had to travel to Karachi to attend the Sindh Assembly’s session.
The court allowed her transitory remand.
Meanwhile, a division bench of the Islamabad High Court comprising acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb extended interim bail of former finance minister Miftah Ismail in the LNG import case till Aug 7.
Mr Ismail is wanted by NAB in connection with an “inquiry against the authorities, including minister for petroleum and natural resources, the secretary concerned and others regarding illegal award of LNG terminal-1 to Engro Energy Terminal Private Limited”.
In his petition, Mr Ismail explained why NAB was after him and said when the deal for the LNG supply was being finalised, he was working as non-executive director/chairman of the board of directors of the Sui Southern Gas Company from Oct 30, 2013 to Oct 18, 2017.