- MQM-P labels arrest ‘an attempt to influence polls’
- NAB denies allegations, says bureau is apolitical
KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday arrested former Karachi Port Trust (KPT) chairman and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) candidate from PS-95 constituency.
However, the MQM-P labeled it “an attempt to influence elections”. Reacting to MQM-P’s allegations, NAB denied the claims and said that it did not pursue any political agenda.
“The accused, Javed Hanif, was wanted in an investigation against officers of KPT on charges of corruption, corrupt practices and abuse of authority for illegally appointing 940 employees in KPT in connivance with [the MQM’s] Babar Ghauri, the then minister for ports and shipping,” a press release issued by NAB stated.
The appointments were made in violation of KPT law, rules and regulations. Moreover, they were made without advertisement of vacancies, competitive process, age criteria, medical examination of appointees and in violation of basic formalities, the statement added.
The bureau said that a large number of those appointed had a criminal record in serious cases such as “terrorism, premeditated murder and robbery” and that the illegal appointments resulted in losses to the national exchequer to the tune of Rs 2.8 billion.
The accused will be produced before Accountability Court Karachi on Tuesday for physical remand.
Meanwhile, MQM-P condemned the arrest of party leader and said that his “only crime was providing jobs to Karachi’s youth”.
Speaking at a press conference, MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said the arrest of Hanif was “an attempt to influence elections” and requested the army chief to take notice.
Reacting to the press conference, NAB denied the allegations and said the arrest was not politically motivated.
The bureau’s spokesperson said that an inquiry against Hanif was initiated three years ago when he was not associated with any political party.
“NAB vehemently refutes the allegations of political motivation behind proceedings of corruption cases initiated against anyone. It is further clarified that the criminal case against Muhammad Jawed Hanif former Chairman KPT and others was initiated in November 2015 whereas he joined the political party in October 2017.”
“The only motivation for NAB is to go against the culprits without any consideration. The proceedings are carried out purely in adherence to the law and constitution,” the statement concluded.
The anti-graft watchdog also gave a list of four people appointed by the former chairman, allegedly in connivance with former ports and shipping minister Babar Ghauri, who had serious offences registered against them.
Separately, a MQM-P candidate for PS-107 was among 13 people nominated in the FIR registered against a rioting incident in Lyari on Sunday, which occurred as the convoy of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari entered the area.
Rafiq Hingoro, is one of the 13 suspects identified in the FIR, No. 183/18, registered under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act as well as sections 147, 148, 149, 268, 341,353 and 427 of the CrPC.