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Pak SC wants another case registered against PM

By Rezaul H Laskar
January 24, 2013 18:31 IST
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In further trouble for Pakistan Prime Minister, the supreme court on Thursday gave the country's anti-corruption watchdog time till January 30 to file a case against Raja Pervez Ashraf and Interior Minister Rehman Malik over alleged graft in a state-run firm.

The move is expected to increase tensions between an embattled executive and the pro-active judiciary. A two-judge bench directed the National Accountability Bureau to file a case against Ashraf, Malik and Jahangir Badar, the secretary general of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, for appointing and allegedly sheltering former Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority chairman Tauqeer Sadiq.

Sadiq fled the country last year after he was accused of corruption.

Last week, another bench of the apex court had directed the NAB to arrest the premier and 16 other persons over alleged corruption in setting up power projects.

NAB Chairman Fasih Bokhari subsequently informed the court he did not have adequate evidence to make arrests. During today's hearing, the apex court directed NAB to take action against all those who were responsible for appointing Saqid and for protecting him.

The bench adjourned the case till January 31 after directing NAB to file a report after registering a case within a week.

A NAB official told the bench that Rehman Malik and Jahangir Badar had been accused of helping Sadiq flee the country. The official further said that Prime Minister Ashraf had approved Sadiq's appointment.

A NAB prosecutor said Sadiq had been detained in the United Arab Emirates but he was later released as authorities there had not been provided documents for his arrest.

The apex court pulled up the NAB for sending a team to the UAE without an arrest warrant for Sadiq. Such carelessness shows that government agencies are ‘determined’ not to arrest Sadiq, the bench contended.

Sadiq is the main accused in a multi-billion rupee scam in the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had earlier directed NAB to arrest Sadiq in January 22.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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