Courts kick off scrutiny of NAB cases

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ISLAMABAD: Complying with the Supreme Court’s September 15 order, accountability courts initiated the process of scrutinising the records of references provided to them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday.

National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Rubina Khalid, both belonging to the PPP, have been summoned in connection with corruption cases against them.

Farzana Raja, also of the PPP, has been served a notice to present her arguments over charges of corruption against her during her tenure as the chairperson of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

In Islamabad, more than 80 cases including those against PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and former premiers Yusuf Raza Gilani and Shaukat Aziz have been revived.

Of these 80 cases, NAB has submitted 26 references to an accountability court in the federal capital.

NAB has also provided the records of these 80 cases to the accountability court’s registrar, along with the list of the revived references. The registrar’s office has commenced the process of reviewing these records.

The record of a corruption reference against former premier Yusuf Raza Gilani in the Universal Services Fund case was submitted to accountability court II.

The record of a rental power plant references against NA speaker and former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was handed over to accountability court III. The record of two other graft cases against private citizens was presented before the courts as well. The records were examined by the court staff.

The investigating officer submitted the record of a reference of alleged misappropriation of Rs540 million in the BISP against Farzana Raja and others to accountability court III.

According to the list, the Universal Services Fund reference was filed in 2018 against Gilani and another one in 2020. A reference was filed in 2018 against former premier Shaukat Aziz.

The Park Lane reference was filed in 2019 against former president Zardari, and another one in 2021. Five references of rental power projects were filed against NA speaker and former premier Ashraf — two in 2015, one in 2016, and two in 2017.

NAB filed a reference against PPP leader Farzana Raja filed in 2020 in connection with misappropriation of funds in the BISP.

The references include one against former Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) managing director Aijaz Haroon, Abdul Ghani Majeed, and Anwar Majeed.

A reference in connection with Toshakhana (gift repository) vehicles against former premier Nawaz is also included in the list. After the scrutiny of records was over, the cases were presented before the court of judge Bashir.

The court summoned NA speaker and ex-premier Ashraf, pointing out that a charge had already been filed in the case. The judge also served a notice to PPP Senator Rubina Khalid and others for October 4 in the Lok Virsa funds reference.

In Lahore, NAB has returned 118 references to 10 accountability courts in Punjab’s provincial capital.

The Ramzan Sugar Mills reference against former premier Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza has been revived. The record of the Ramzan Sugar Mills reference was submitted to an accountability court.

The record of the Paragon housing scheme reference against former minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq and his brother Salman Rafiq was also handed over to a court.

The reference of illegal contracts of mineral reserves in Chiniot against Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan and others was submitted to an accountability court as well.

The records of the reference of illegal recruitment in the Punjab University against former vice chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran and that of the Punjab Youth Festival against former sports director general Usman Anwar were handed over to accountability courts too.

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