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November 20, 2019

Court orders action to attach properties of Durrani’s family members, other absconders


November 20, 2019

An accountability court on Tuesday ordered the federal anti-graft watchdog to start proclamation and attachment of properties proceedings against 11 absconders, including family members of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, in a case about alleged accumulation of Rs1.6 billion assets through illegal means.

The accountability court-IV judge directed the National Accountability Bureau to initiate the proceedings under sections 87 and 88 of the Code of Criminal Procedure against Durrani’s wife Naheed, his daughters Sonya, Shahana, Sara and Sanam, and son Agha Shahbaz, besides Muhammad Irfan, Gulbahar Baloch, Shakeel Soomro, Syed Muhammad Shah, Ghulam Murtaza and Munawar Ali.

The NAB investigation officer at a previous hearing had told the court that the named members of the Durrani family had gone to the United States and the United Arab Emirates, as per their travel history obtained through the Federal Investigation Agency, while the rest were into hiding at an undisclosed location. Their CNICs had also been blocked on the court orders.

Pakistan Peoples Party leader Durrani was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau in Islamabad on February 20 for investigations into his alleged movable and immovable assets beyond his known sources of income, making 352 illegal appointments, embezzlement of public funds in the construction of the MPA Hostel and the new Sindh Assembly building, as well as the appointment of project directors for these schemes.

NAB had filed the reference against Durrani and 19 people, including the absconders, in May earlier this year.

It maintained that 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 Tuesday hearing, Durrani, who is in judicial custody and confined at his office in the Sindh Assembly, appeared in the court along with others suspects, who are on bail, including Agha Masihuddin, Mitha Khan, Tufail Sheikh, Gulzar Ahmed, Zulfiqar Dahar and Shamshad Khatoon.

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