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Pakistan ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi arrested in liquified natural gas scam case

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif condemned the arrest, saying that NAB was being used for political victimisation. 

SNS | New Delhi |

Former Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was arrested in connection with a Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) scam case by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday.

According to the NAB arrest warrant, Abbasi has been accused of commission of offence of corruption and corrupt practices under section 9 (a) of National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

Abbasi “shall be produced before the court for authorisation of detention for such period as may be necessary for finalisation of the investigation,” the arrest warrant added.

In a post shared on Twitter, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif condemned Abbasi’s arrest.

“We strongly protest Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s arrest. The institution of NAB has become Imran Khan’s puppet. Our spirits cannot be wavered by such cheap tactics,” he said.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was travelling to Lahore to attend a news conference by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif when he was arrested.

NAB had summoned Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on July 18 in the LNG case, Geo News reported.

Earlier in 2018, a Pakistani court had issued a notice to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for allegedly making an anti-judiciary speech in which he termed the Panama papers verdict a “piece of trash”.

The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of over 11 million files from the database of the world’s fourth-biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca, reportedly showing how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

Abbasi has been facing the accusation of handing over a tender worth Rs 220 billion to a company in which he was a shareholder himself. He is also named in the Exit Control List (ECL).

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif condemned the arrest, saying that NAB was being used for political victimisation.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Vice President of the PML-N also tweeted that “Another prime minister appointed by your votes arrested. Will this injustice, insult be faced by those elected by your votes”.

Earlier in April, the Pakistani government had imposed a travel ban on Abbasi, former finance minister Miftah Ismail, and five others in the same case. According to an earlier notification, the amount involved in the case was Rs 36.969 billion.