Khaqan arraigned for illegal recruitments

By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) named former petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in a reference for allegedly appointing Sheikh Imranul Haq as the managing director of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) “in sheer violation of rules and regulations”.
A statement released by NAB’s Karachi chapter on Friday said that non-bailable arrest warrants have been issued for the former prime minister as well as former petroleum secretary Arshad Mirza, who is also named in the reference.
Furthermore, notices have been issued to Haq and and PSO’s former deputy MD of finance Yaqoob Suttar — the former deputy MD of finance at PSO. The accused have been ordered to appear before an accountability court on April 10.
In 2018, NAB had presented a report in the Supreme Court, which said that “evidences (sic) showed that the appointment of former PSO MD Sheikh Imranul Haq was illegal and was not made in a transparent manner”. The report further said that there was evidence that Haq had a conflict of interest with the PSO due to an LNG agreement with his ex-employer (Engro Corporation).
Haq had also “misused his authority” by promoting Sattar to the post of deputy MD within a month of his joining, the report added.
Abbasi and Haq are already named in another NAB reference in a multi-billion-rupee case related to the award of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import contract. Former finance minister Miftah Ismail is also named in the LNG case.
Both Abbasi and Ismail were arrested in the LNG case last year and are currently out on bail.
Shehbaz condemns NAB warrants
PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif condemned the issuing of non-bailable warrants against Abbasi, saying, “instead of fighting against the coronavirus, NAB-Niazi are busy fighting the media and opposition.”
“On one hand, prisoners are being released and on the other hand, those who served the nation are beig arrested,” Sharif said, adding that it was “not the time for political shows”.
“[Governments in] the entire world are united to save their people. In Pakistan, the government’s priority is to send media and opposition members in jail.”
Sharif further said that opposition was willing to work with the government “for the sake of the people but the government was spreading anarchy”.
An accountability court issued non-bailable arrest warrants against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday, for allegedly hiring people ‘illegaly’ when he was the petroleum minister during the PML-N tenure. The court order came barely a month after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted him bail in a separate corruption reference related to the award of an LNG contract.
This time, the accountability court has issued the PML-N leader’s arrest warrants over alleged illegal hiring during his tenure as the minister for petroleum resources.