One More: NAB Arrests PML-N Leader Miftah Ismail As IHC Rejects His Bail Plea
Yet another PML-N leader is now behind the bars, as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested former finance minister Miftah Ismail on Wednesday after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected his request for an extension in his pre-arrest interim bail in the LNG import case.
The two-member bench also rejected the bail application submitted by Pakistan State Oil’s former MD Sheikh Imran-ul-Haque.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that the Supreme Court had set a standard for granting bail in NAB cases. “Bail in NAB cases can only be given in cases of hardship,” the judge ruled.
During the hearing, Justice Minallah stated that the defence would have to convince the court that he was seeking bail extension due to circumstances of “extreme hardship”.
In response, Haider Waheed, the counsel for Miftah, questioned why NAB wanted to arrest Ismail despite his cooperation in the investigation. “NAB wants to arrest my client due to political reasons,” he said.
The lawyer stated that when the deal for the LNG supply was being finalised, his client was working as a non-executive director of the Sui Southern Gas Company. He said the initial negotiations to purchase LNG from Qatar had already been done by the time Ismail took charge of his office.
The country did not import LNG at exorbitant rates during Ismail’s tenure, Waheed argued.
Meanwhile, a strong reaction was visible on social media as soon as the news of Miftah’s arrest was aired by TV channels.
Look at the priorities. Miftah Ismail is arrested.
— Murtaza Solangi (@murtazasolangi) August 7, 2019
The arrest of Miftah Ismail will further damage Pakistan's credibility in business world n any hope of investment will remain an illusion
— Mohammad Zubair (@RealM_Zubair) August 7, 2019
Miftah has strong faith in Nawaz like any close and blood relation. This has made him get penalised. no doubt, he is a great business man who contributes toward economy of Pakistan. Indeed, son of Karachi. @MiftahIsmail #StayStrongMiftah pic.twitter.com/uVzguzx4aa
— Maria Chaudhary 🇵🇰 (@ambrinmaria) August 7, 2019
Got to know @MiftahIsmail Sb since he started writing for us. Not only a gentleman, he's also super smart. What a country: arresting, nabbing, censoring all the wrong people.
— Zebunnisa Burki (@zburki) July 19, 2019
مفتاح اسماعیل صاحب نے ایک اہم عشائیہ میں ڈیل سے انکار کرکے اپنے پاؤں پر خود کلہاڑی ماردی.#Miftahismail
— Abdullah Malik (@AbdullahMalikJ) August 7, 2019
On July 18, NAB had arrested former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for his alleged involvement in the LNG case.
In 2018, the anti-corruption watchdog had initiated an inquiry against former premiers Abbasi and Nawaz Sharif over alleged misuse of authority.
Abbasi and others had been accused of illegally awarding LNG terminal contract for a period of 15 years to a company of their liking in violation of defined rules, ‘thus inflicting billions of rupees losses to the national exchequer’.
The inquiry was initiated after the NAB Karachi office closed a similar inquiry against Abbasi for his alleged role in the award of a multi-billion rupee contract for the import and distribution of LNG.
The PML-N government in its tenure from 2013-2018 completed two LNG terminals while just days before completion of its term on May 31, it stopped the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) from going ahead with bidding for the allocation of a site for constructing a third terminal.