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December 6, 2018

Khwaja brothers’ bail extended

Lahore

December 6, 2018

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday extended interim pre-arrest bail of former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq and his brother Khwaja Salman Rafiq till December 11 and directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to furnish a report carrying the reasons for issuing arrest warrants against them.

As a two-judge bench headed by Justice Tariq Abbasi resumed hearing, Khwaja brothers appeared before it and requested that their lawyers were not available on account of engagements in the Supreme Court in Islamabad. The bench asked a NAB prosecutor about delay in deciding petitioners’ application seeking transfer of the inquiries from Lahore to any other region of the bureau. The prosecutor replied that the application would be disposed of soon by the NAB chairman.

He said a written order of previous hearing was received late but now it had been sent to the chairman. To it, Justice Abbasi remarked that the case could be taken up again Thursday (today) if the application was decided in a day. However, the prosecutor requested the bench to allow some to wait the decision on the petitioners’ application.

At this, the bench adjourned hearing till December 11 and also extended the pre-arrest interim bail of the Khwaja brothers. The bench also directed the NAB to submit reasons for issuing arrest warrants against Khwaja brothers in writing.

The NAB initiated an inquiry against Khwaja brothers in Paragon City scam while Saad Rafiq was also facing inquiries on railways and Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme. Talking to the media, Saad Rafiq claimed that the NAB had failed to produce any evidence against them during the last one year. He accused the bureau of forcing people to make false confessions against them.

He alleged that NAB had been keeping former MPA Qaiser Amin Butt under the influence of drugs. The former railways minister said he was the one who stood and will continue to stand out against the vindictive actions of the NAB. He also criticised the government for increasing trains’ fares and said Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad misled the public by running so-called new trains. He said Imran Khan became prime minister despite pending inquiry against him in the NAB.

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