ISLAMABAD: An accountability court here on Friday gave the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) till August 6 to file a final reference against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) case.
Judge Azam Khan gave the deadline during the hearing in which Abbasi and the other accused in the case, Azimi Adil, were also present.
Abbasi’s lawyer Barrister Zafarullah told the court that NAAB has been asking various questions from his client for the past two years and despite keeping the former prime minister in jail for six and a half months, it was still unable to file a reference.
“Such a spectacle should not be staged and thus the hearing should be adjourned till the NAB files a reference,” the counsel added.
Presenting his arguments, NAB Prosecutor Usman Mirza said that it would take another three to four weeks to complete the final reference but, as far as the supplementary reference is concerned, the attendance of the accused has been completed.
“If the court wants to charge the accused, then NAB has no objection,” Mirza said. To this, the judge remarked that the accused would be indicted when the supplementary reference.
The accountability court gave NAB till August 6 to complete the investigation against Abbasi and file a final reference, saying it was the final deadline.
Speaking to the media outside the accountability court, former PM Abbasi said the investigation has been ongoing for a year, the questionnaires were answered and arrests were made to which no justification was given.
“NAB remanded me for 70 days and did not ask a single question,” Abbasi said. “The Islamabad High Court granted me bail under human rights. We still say that the demands of justice are very clear, the chairman of NAB has been a judge of the Supreme Court, but arrests are made before cases are made.”
Abbasi added that NAB’s investigation and court’s proceedings should be done in-camera.
“It is very easy to make allegations,” he said. “There is no evidence, no case, NAB is being used to suppress. Raja Pervez Ashraf was acquitted after 12 years. Who is responsible for the disgrace of the past 12 years, does anyone have an answer?”
He added that the government and the country are not functioning properly due to NAB.
“The government has failed, their every moment is cumbersome for the country,” he said.