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National

October 12, 2017

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PTI criticises PMon LNG deal but spares then petroleum secretary

PTI criticises PMon LNG deal but spares then petroleum secretary

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Sheikh Rashid have criticized Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, accusing him of pocketing millions of dollars in the LNG deal with Qatar, but they ignore the fact that the then petroleum secretary, Abid Saeed, has been the PTI’s most trusted bureaucrat.

Sheikh Rashid has now announced that after a trip to three countries including Qatar he has succeeded to get a copy of the LNG contract that he promised to unveil to what he claimed expose Abbasi’s alleged corruption.

A few days back, PTI Chairman Imran Khan tweeted after Abbasi was elected as the prime minister that his appointment was based on his illegal contract of LNG. He had also shared a preliminary inquiry paper of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which had been closed in 2016 on merit. This inquiry had been primarily conducted against Abbasi and Abid Saeed, who were instrumental in finalizing the accord.

If Abbasi, as per Imran Khan’s claim, is an accused, Abid Saeed is a co-accused in the LNG deal because the latter was the secretary of petroleum and natural resources under his minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at the time.

Not only the minister but also the secretary was comprehensively involved in negotiating the landmark agreement with Qatar. However, after this deal was concluded and sealed, the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) government of the PTI had requisitioned Abid Saeed to make him its chief secretary. The federal government had readily accepted the request and relieved him of the position of the petroleum secretary.

Those having knowledge of the requisition say that the KP government had made it after being asked by Imran Khan and Jehangir Tareen as they were impressed with his track record as an efficient official.

Tareen knew Abid Saeed for decades when the latter had served as the deputy commissioner of Lodhran, the home district of the former. After a lot of noise was raised over the LNG deal, Abbasi as the petroleum minister had himself written to the NAB to investigate it. The corruption buster had done so and given the clean chit. At the time, Abbasi had declared that he was solely responsible for the agreement and was prepared to face any inquiry or investigation. He had stated that no official of his ministry should be asked questions about it.

Even after having been elevated as the prime minister, he had repeatedly announced that he was willing for any probe into the LNG agreement, which he always described as the game-changer to overcome energy deficit of Pakistan.

He had opined that the LNG he had negotiated with Qatar was the cheapest compared to its rates worldwide and to any agreement this tiny Gulf state had worked out with any country.

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