Khwaja Brothers Breathe Sigh Of Relief With Delay In Indictment
Former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafique and his brother can breathe a sigh of relief as their indictment in the Paragon City scam was delayed till the first week of September. The delay occurred as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) failed to provide readable copies of the reference against the brothers.
The brothers’ indictment had also been previously delayed as Khwaja Saad was in the federal capital to attend a joint session of parliament. On the occasion, the judge presiding the case, Justice Jawadul Hassan, had expressed serious reservations over the former minister’s absence and had questioned the practice of issuing production orders for legislators without seeking permission of the court in which they were under trail.
In Tuesday’s hearing, the suspects were present in court with the prosecution ready to frame charges on them. However, the brothers were saved by a small technicality, brought into light by their counsel Amjad Parvez. The defence counsel informed the court that the copies of the reference provided to the suspects was not readable and hence the court could not indict the suspects. Pervez further stated that the framing of charges would not be complete unless the suspects were provided with readable copies.
Following this, the judge director a prosecutor to supply readable documents to the suspects and regretted the delay while fixing September 4 as the date for the next hearing and indictment.
The Khwaja brothers had been charged with obtaining illegal financial benefits from funds allocated for an illegal housing project, namely Air Avenue.
In light of these charges, the National Accountability Bureau had arrested the brothers in December of 2018. Both remained in NAB’s custody until they were sent to jail on judicial remand in February 2019.
The former railways minster, in talks with the media, seriously criticised the PTI government for their poor performance in government. He was of the view that the incumbent government gave hollow promises, incapability, unemployment and inflation, whilst engaging in vindictive actions.
In a reference to the arrests of major opposition leaders during the past year, he lamented that the country had been turned into a prison.
Khwaja Saad also invoked the Kashmir issue, saying that a government that was involved in weakening its own country could not fight Kashmir’s case at the international level. While condemning the gagging of the media, he said that while the enemy was on the door, the government was busy imprisoning political rivals.