Court extends judicial remand of Asif in NAB case

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday appeared before an accountability court in the wealth case.

During the hearing headed by an accountability judge, the court extended the judicial remand until April 22.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested Asif in December from outside the Islamabad residence of another PML-N leader, Ahsan Iqbal, on charges of being in possession of wealth beyond his declared sources of income.

In a bail request filed with Lahore High Court (LHC) on March 27, Asif contended during his physical remand with the NAB that he was not confronted with any “direct or circumstantial evidence that would construct the case”.

“The application, under section 24(d) of National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, filed by respondent Assistant Director NAB Mohammad Ikram, for seeking physical remand of the petitioner did not disclose any incriminating material supporting the alleged commission of the crime under section 9(a)(v) of NAO,” the petition read.

“Mere ownership of property/assets did not constitute an offense under section 9(a)(v). It is the failure to explain the source of funds that points towards the commission of the offense. The inquiry is being conducted on conjectures and surmises with a view to rope the petitioner into baseless and unfounded allegations.

“In the absence of any plausible reason to reject the detailed explanation offered by the petitioner regarding his ownership of assets and source of income, this case is one of further inquiry and post-arrest bail should be granted.”

Asif said that he had provided the agency with an explanation of the various sources of wealth, explaining the acquisition of the assets he owns.

“Rejection of the explanation, without any reasonable ground, is itself evidence of the arbitrary exercise of power on part of respondents hence justifying interference by the court and grant of post-arrest bail,” he said.

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