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NAB arrested Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

19 July, 2019

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The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday arrested former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, drawing a furious response from the opposition parties who accused the government of trying to silence its opponents.

The former prime minister and a senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was arrested by the anti-graft watchdog in a multi-billion-rupee case related to the award of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import contract. Abbasi was on his way to attend a press conference, accompanied by PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal and spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, when he was arrested at the Thokar Niaz Baig interchange in Lahore. He initially resisted the arrest but eventually conceded. He was shifted to NAB office in Lahore after a medical check-up.

According to sources, he will be presented in court on Friday due to the shortage of court hours on Thursday. Accountability judge Chaudhry Ameer Khan is expected to hear NAB’s request for a transit remand.

Also on Thursday, NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal signed the arrest warrants of another PML-N leader, Miftah Ismail, as well as former managing director of Pakistan State Oil Sheikh Imranul Haque. Ismail is also being probed in connection with the LNG import case. After Abbasi’s arrest, teams in Karachi and Islamabad were dispatched to take the former finance minister into custody. By evening, a NAB team had secured warrants to enter Ismail’s house in Karachi for a search and arrest operation. However, it eventually returned empty-handed as Ismail was not at home. Both leaders had earlier been placed on the exit control list to restrict their movement abroad.

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