‘For the last time’: Court extends physical remand of Abbasi, Miftah in LNG case

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Basharat Raja

Islamabad

Accountability court on Thursday gave a final extension in the physical remands of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former finance minister Miftah Ismail and former Pakistan State Oil (PSO) managing director Imranul Haq  in LNG case.

Both the PML-N leaders were presented before the court by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which sought extension in their remand.

Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir, who heard NAB’s pleas for extension in physical remand of Abbasi, Ismail and former PSO managing director Sheikh Imranul Haq, said that Abbasi had been in NAB custody for 56 days and “this is the final extension the court is giving in his remand”.

Former premier Abbasi told the court to give a “90-day extension in the remand to satisfy NAB”. He also put speculations to rest by saying that no deal is being made with NAB.

Meanwhile, Ismail’s lawyer said that his client was being “kept in isolation for 23 hours every day and should at least be allowed to have his meals with Abbasi”. The lawyer further said that Ismail had been in custody for 11 days already and a 14-day extension should not be made in his physical remand.

NAB lawyers argued that the two men had to be kept in custody for interrogation.

Hearing both sides of the argument, the judge allowed NAB to keep both Abbasi and Ismail in custody till September 26, but clarified that a further extension in their physical remand would not be given.

Haq’s remand was also further extended after NAB told the court that his physical checkup had been completed and that he had been tested for diabetes. The court was told that Haq’s insulin levels were within normal ranges.

Later, in an informal talk with media outside the Court, Abbasi said he apologises to the nation for appointing the NAB chairman.

“The name of NAB chairman had come from Pakistan People’s Party and appointment was made with consensus”. The PMLN leader said the chief aim of establishing the NAB was to break PMLN.

Separately, Abbasi has written a letter to the National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser at which he demanded production orders of all arrested and imprisoned members. He said Speaker Asad Qaiser is responsible for making sure attendance of members.

“Democracy becomes strong with actions not with words,” he said, adding speaker office has failed in issuing production orders.

Former PM said that he had received his production orders twice after NA sessions.

He added that he will not come in NA despite issuance of my production orders till issuance of production orders of all detained members