Ex-PM Abbasi, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal granted bail by IHC in corruption cases

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court approved on Tuesday the bail of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal in corruption cases against the two.

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The bails to Iqbal and Abbasi were granted against bonds worth Rs10 million each in the cases against them. A two-member bench of the IHC, under Chief Justice IHC Athar Minullah, heard both the cases today.

In the hearing, Additional Prosecutor General NAB opposed the bail of Iqbal, saying that if the suspect is granted bail then it can disrupt the case’s record.

During the arguments in the sports city case, Justice Minallah remarked that arresting a suspect to interrogate him shows incompetence on the part of the investigation officer and a suspect is innocent until the crime is proven against him.

The APG National Accountability Bureau (NAB) then said that if the PML-N leader submits his passport and appears when summoned by the court then he has no objection.

PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal was arrested in December by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as he appeared before it in relation to the corruption case.

NAB had begun investigating the complex in July 2018. It was built at the staggering cost of over Rs3,000 million.

The NAB investigation team also visited the Narowal Sports City project in November to secure records.

The mega venture was one of the primary projects developed under former minister for planning Ahsan Iqbal during the PML-N’s tenure.

Abbasi was arrested in connection with the case in July. He is accused of awarding a 15-year contract for a terminal against the rules when he was the petroleum minister in former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet. The case was closed by NAB in 2016 but then reopened in 2018.

On Jan 2, NAB’s executive board authorised investigations against Abbasi, being former minister for petroleum and natural resources, for his alleged involvement in irregularities in the import of LNG.

In April, the government imposed a travel ban on Abbasi, Ismail and five other persons in this case.

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