‘What’s happening in Pakistan’s courts is a joke,’ Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says

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ISLAMABAD: “People laugh at Pakistan; what’s happening in our courts is a joke,” former prime minister and PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in a media talk outside an accountability court after appearing for a hearing on Thursday.

The former prime minister has been indicted in the LNG terminal and Pakistan State Oil appointments cases by an accountability court in Islamabad. Both references have been filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau.

Abbasi, his son Abdullah Khaqan Abbasi and former finance minister Miftah Ismail, among others, have been accused of awarding the LNG Terminal-1 contract in a non-transparent way.

During this period, Abbasi and his son’s bank accounts also received unexplained deposits of Rs1.4 billion and Rs1.2 billion respectively from 2013 to 2017, it has been alleged. 

Abbasi has further been accused of illegally appointing Sheikh Imranul Haq as the managing director of PSO and Yaqoob Sattar as the deputy managing director (finance) while he was serving as the minister of petroleum and natural resources from June 7, 2013 to July 28, 2017.

Abbasi said he had been handed a 26-page charge sheet which has 64 points. “I have consulted over 10 lawyers. They said they have never seen a 26-page charge sheet in their life,” he said.

It is not possible, Abbasi said the lawyers told him. They said only point 63 out of the 64 points in the document was the actual charge sheet.

This means the rest of the points are just added to insult me and the politicians of this country, he said, adding that they are not relevant to the case.

Abbasi spoke about the first point of this charge sheet. It says he changed the name of the Ministry of Petroleum to the Ministry of Energy when he was prime minister. 

“This was my crime, according to this charge sheet. How is this in violation of any law?” he asked.

The courts have become a joke, Abbasi said.

He invited the NAB chairperson to come on TV if he had the “courage”. 

“Come and tell the public where the corruption has taken place because it is not showing in your charge sheet,” Abbasi said, addressing the NAB chairperson.

He said such people “should be ashamed of themselves”. 

“Those who think the law is a joke will be answerable,” he said.

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