Opposition tears apart ‘questionable’ verdict in Nandipur Power Project reference

ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: Leaders belonging to Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz reacted strongly to an accountability court’s verdict in the Nandipur Power Project reference.

The court had accepted the acquittal plea of former law minister Babar Awan while rejecting the plea of former premier Raja Pervez Ashraf earlier in the day.

PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said that announcing two different verdicts against a single case raises questions over impartiality of the court. “Awarding bail to ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Babar Awan while continuing Raja Pervez Ashraf’s trial make it a controversial verdict,” he added.

Kaira claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan had saved Babar Awan in the case, adding that the latter was being tried in the reference until he parted ways with PPP and joined the ruling party.

“Now we know why NAB chairman [Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal] had maintained that the government would topple if corruption cases of PTI leaders were opened,” he said.

The PPP stalwart maintained that the recent video scandal against the NAB chairman must be investigated properly to ascertain whether he was being blackmailed.

Members of treasury benches were being freed in corruption cases while leaders belonging to opposition parties subject to trial, he said, adding that it had become a tradition that forged corruption cases were withdrawn against anyone who leaves PPP for the Imran Khan-led party.

“Does withdrawal of fake corruption cases amount to price paid for leaving PPP? Why only Babar Awan was given bail if corruption is reported in Nandipur reference?”

Kaira said that conspiracies, in the form of fake corruption cases, were being hatched against PPP leaders so that they change their loyalties.

“How will the country see stability if the politics revolve around blackmailing through fake corruption cases? … the PPP chairman was right when he said that you either join PTI or you will be sent to jail.”

PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal also came down hard on the PTI government, alleging it of influencing the ongoing accountability process.

“This is the type of accountability and justice taking place in our country. Babar Awan accused by a commission constituted by the Supreme Court of causing Rs113 billion loss to Pakistan is given clean chit because Kaptaan ka player,” he wrote on Twitter. Iqbal also urged the apex court to take notice of Tuesday’s verdict.

Another PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah also strongly criticised the accountability court’s verdict, calling it an irrefutable evidence of “NAB-Niazi nexus”.

“Babar Awan and Raja Pervez Ashraf represent justice of new and old Pakistan… bails and acquittals for the ruling party while arrests, warrants and prisons for the opposition,” he was quoted by Express News as saying.

Sanaullah said the reality of ‘Imran Khan-controlled NAB’ was not a secret anymore.