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May 8, 2021

PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal added to ECL

 
May 8, 2021

ISLAMABAD: PMLN leader Ahsan Iqbal's name has been added to the Exit Control List (ECL) by the interior ministry, sources said Friday.

The former federal minister is accused of causing losses worth billions to the national exchequer by initiating the Narowal Sports City Complex project in his home constituency.

The National Accountability Bureau says the sports city project was conceived on the instruction of Iqbal without any feasibility in 1999. This project was first called the Sports Stadium Narowal. Read more: Accountability court indicts PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal in corruption case It was initially approved at a cost of Rs34.74 million by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP), which Iqbal headed. NAB maintains that Iqbal illegally directed the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and NESPAK to increase the project's scope, enhancing the cost to Rs97.52 million.

NAB is investigating his involvement in the case, which is being heard by an accountability court in Islamabad. Iqbal has been summoned several times.

NAB has made a request to add Iqbal's name to the no-fly list. Sources said that due to the NAB case against Iqbal, the cabinet had approved the inclusion of his name to the ECL.

In December last year, an accountability court indicted Iqbal in the Narowal Sports City Complex corruption case.

The reference was heard by accountability judge Syed Asghar Ali.

Former Pakistan Sports Board director-general Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, Sarfraz Rasool, ministry of planning officer Asif Sheikh and a private contractor named Muhammad Ahmed were also charged for their involvement in the case.

Iqbal, along with the other four accused, pleaded not guilty.

Iqbal objected to the indictment and said the judge did not even listen to the prosecution, adding that the court had to make sure whether the case was valid or not.

In response to Ahsan's comments, Judge Syed Asghar Ali said the court is "not here to listen to such remarks," and that Ahsan should "file a petition or speak through [his] lawyer."

"The purpose of these false references is to discredit, pressure, and hurt the opposition," Ahsan Iqbal said while speaking to journalists outside of the court.