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August 8, 2019

NAB arrests Miftah after IHC rejects his bail plea

Top Story

August 8, 2019


ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday arrested former Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, former Managing Director of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) Sheikh Imran-ul-Haqin, in LNG corruption reference, as Islamabad High Court rejected his plea seeking extension in pre-arrest bail.

Division bench of Islamabad High Court comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani  took up the plea of Miftah Ismail seeking extension in pre-arrest bail.

During hearing, Ismail's counsel took the stance that the NAB is misusing its authority which will be considered as dishonesty. Justice Athar Minallah remarked that Supreme Court has set standers for bail in NAB reference. Bail can be granted only in hardship cases, he said.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani inquired that was Miftah Ismail involved in price negotiations of the LNG contract? To this, Miftah’s lawyer replied that his client was one of the eight members of the committee which determined the rate.

He further argued that LNG contract with Qatar was already finalized before Miftah Ismail assumed his office and the LNG terminal was constructed afterwards for which the incumbent government overpaid.

Ismail's counsel took the stance that the NAB is misusing its authority which will be considered as dishonesty. NAB prosecutor argued before the court that in LNG agreement huge loss was made to national exchequer.

Justice Moshin remarked that today who are in government would be accused after their tenure. NAB prosecutor said that “we have asked for the summery on terminal 3 from the recent government”.

To this, Justice Kiyani remarked that now government would take NOC from NAB before taking any decision. “Ministers would send minutes of their meetings to Chairman NAB instead of sending them to Prime Minister,” he said. He further asked that what steps recent government is taking in this regard. “If there is loss to national exchequer then why not government is stopping it?” he added.

Justice Athar Minallah remarked that in Nawaz Sharif bail petition Supreme Court has set standers for bail. He said pre-bail can be granted only in hardship cases.

Hearing the arguments the court rejected Miftah Ismail plea seeking pre-arrest bail. NAB arrested Miftah Ismail and former Managing Director of Pakistan State Oil was arrested from outside IHC.

In his petition Miftah Ismail has stated that NAB has no solid evidence against him, as he was not involved in any irregularity in LNG import contract. He argued that NAB has leveled allegations against him when there is ‘not even an iota of any evidence’ of wrongdoing in LNG case.

Former finance minister has requested the court to stop NAB from arresting him until the completion of investigation into the matter and filing of a reference. He also requested the court to grant him a pre-arrest bail as he was ready to cooperate with NAB investigation.

In his petition Miftah has nominated Chairman NAB and Secretary Ministry of Law as respondents in his case.

Earlier IHC had granted interim bail to the former finance minister in the LNG case against bonds worth Rs500,000.

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