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Catch me if you can, Gilani dares NAB

14 December, 2013

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MULTAN: Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Friday refused to appear before an investigation team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the NICL corruption case and said that he has immunity, therefore no one can arrest him.

Addressing a press conference, Gilani said he has constitutional immunity. "I'll see who would arrest me," Gilani declared. He said that the constitution gave him immunity as a former prime minister, and if the government wanted to repeal the law then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would have to amend the constitution in the parliament.

He said he would support the prime minister in this regard after which he would appear in the court. Referring to the NAB summons, the former prime minister said that he was never worried with the judicial notices and declared handcuffs as his "jewellery". "I am ready to face any court. It seems I will be the first political prisoner of this government," he said. Criticising former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, he said those who benefited from the NRO were acquitted by the courts.

"Had Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry been sincere, Musharraf would have been behind the bars," Gilani added. Referring to the judicial transition, Gilani said he hopes Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani will not become a politician. NAB issued notice to the former premier in the multi-billion rupee scandal in the NICL. Local police delivered the notice at the Gilani House in Multan.

Gilani stated that he had always followed the constitution during his stint as prime minister, and if the government decides to put him in jail then one day Nawaz Sharif himself will go to jail. He claimed that only he was being victimised under the garb of accountability, saying everyone should be held accountable, not just him. The former prime minister said that it appears the government wants him behind bars ahead of the local government elections in Punjab.

Earlier, Gilani refused to appear before an investigation team of NAB in the NICL case. The ex-prime minister was ordered to appear before an investigation team of the anti-corruption body for his alleged involvement in the multibillion-rupee corruption in NICL.

Gilani suggested that if Senate and the National Assembly abolish Article 248 of the constitution, he would be ready to surrender to NAB. He confirmed receiving a notice from NAB and said that Pakistan People's Party leaders had been receiving such notices in the past too. "I am not afraid of this notice as neither jails nor torture cells can haunt me," he added. Gilani added that he had undergone punishment for 10 years in the past without committing any wrongdoing.

About the up-coming local bodies elections, he announced that the PPP would participate in them irrespective of whether he was sent behind the bars or not. "My opponents want to see me behind the bars because local body elections are near," he said. Regarding the NRO, Gilani said over 4,000 people benefited from it but only one individual was punished under it. Replying to a question, he said "fake cases" were instituted against his sons and one of them was kidnapped too.

The former premier asked how has the Supreme Court accepted presidential immunity and not that of the prime minister. Meanwhile, a spokesman of NAB said the bureau will continue to act in good faith, in accordance with the law and the instructions of the Supreme Court in the NICL case. The NAB spokesman, in a press statement, said no individual is being nor will be persecuted in this, or any other case, because of his political affiliation; nor will any individual be treated preferentially because of his affiliation.

End.

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