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May 22, 2019

NAB to grill Nawaz over ‘illegal’ use of bulletproof cars

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May 22, 2019

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court (AC) on Tuesday gave go-ahead to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to meet former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Kot Lakhpat Jail for the investigation into alleged personal use of bulletproof vehicles imported for the SAARC summit 2016.

The case was heard by AC-II Judge Arshad Malik. The anti-corruption watchdog pleaded that 34 bulletproof vehicles were purchased from Germany for the guests of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) conference without paying import duty. However, 20 vehicles were used in the motorcade which had been kept in the personal use of Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz.

The anti-graft body said it had recorded the statement of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, ex-principal secretary to prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad and other officials. The NAB claimed the Foreign Office’s officials had misused their powers in the matter of bulletproof vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday accepted the bail petition of Nawaz Sharif for hearing and sought reply from the NAB. A divisional bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani heard the petition of the former prime minister seeking his bail in Al-Azizia Steel Mills case on medical grounds. The petition stated Sharif had been suffering from numerous serious diseases as per his medical reports. The medical expert had stated the ex-premier’s condition was critical and his treatment was not possible in jail.

It stated the former prime minister’s political rivals had been propagating against him and terming his bail plea as an attempt to avail ‘NRO’ which was a contempt of court.

Sharif stated it would not affect the prosecution’s case if his sentence was suspended till final judgment on his appeal against trial court’s verdict in Al-Azizia Steel Mills case. He prayed the court to grant him bail under medical grounds.

The petitioner had nominated in his petition the NAB, accountability court and Superintendant Kot Lakhpat Jail as respondents. It may be mentioned here an accountability court of Islamabad had awarded a seven-year jail sentence to the former prime minister last year in Al-Azizia Steel Mills case.

The IHC bench had previously dismissed Sharif’s bail plea. However, he availed relief from the Supreme Court, which granted him a six-week bail for medical treatment. After the end of bail period, Sharif was again sent back to Kot Lakhpat Jail to serve his sentence.

The same bench, meanwhile, adjourned the hearing on NAB’s appeal till June 25, challenging the acquittal of Sharif in Flagship Investment reference by a trial court.

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