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October 23, 2019

Fresh non-bailable arrest warrants out against Durrani’s family members, others


October 23, 2019

An accountability court on Tuesday issued non-bailable warrants for the arrests of a dozen suspects, including family members of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, again in a corruption reference amounting to Rs1.6 billion.

The accountability court-4 ordered the arrests of Durrani’s wife, Naheed, his daughters, Sonya, Shahana, Sara and Sanam, and son Agha Shahbaz. Other suspects are Muhammad Irfan, Gulbahar Baloch, Shakeel Soomro, Syed Muhammad Shah, Ghulam Murtaza and Munawar Ali.

The investigation officer told the court that the bureau made attempts to arrest the suspects but could not find them on the available addresses. The court, however, expressed displeasure over the NAB performance and asked them to expedite their efforts.

On a previous hearing, NAB had told the court that the members of the Durrani family had gone to the US and the UAE, as their travel history obtained through the FIA showed, while the rest had gone into hiding at an undisclosed location.

The court ordered that if the suspects remained absconding, the case against them would be separated from the current and would be open again when they were in custody. On the last hearing, the court had also ordered blocking the absconders’ CNICs.

NAB had filed the reference against Durrani and 19 people, including the absconders, in May this year. It said the speaker had accumulated assets beyond his income and could not account for a difference of Rs1,610,669,528 between his declared total income from 1985 to 2018 and the assets in his, his family, dependants and benamidars’ names. It added that the fortune was made out of kickbacks, embezzlement of public funds and other illegal means.

During the hearing, Durrani was presented by the jail authorities, while seven others -- his brother Agha Masihuddin, Zulfiqar Ali Dahar, Gulzar Ahmed, Tufail Ahmed Shaikh, Mitha Khan, Shamshad Khatoon and Aslam Langah, who are on bail -- also appeared in the court. The suspects on bail had approached the Sindh High Court before NAB could arrest them.

Durrani was arrested by NAB in February at a hotel in Islamabad. He is currently under judicial custody and his office at the Sindh Assembly has been declared sub-jail. Earlier, he was interned at the Landhi jail.

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