Ahsan Iqbal was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after he appeared to record his statement in the case regarding alleged corruption in Narowal Sports City (NSC) Project. This is a project involving many billions of rupees of government spending. Ahsan Iqbal is accused of having caused losses in billions of rupees to the national exchequer by building the Sports City project in his own constituency, using funds of the federal government and the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).
The allegations suggest that he wrongly employed federal funds for a project in his own electoral constituency. The sports complex project came under the scrutiny of NAB in July 2018. The cost incurred in its completion is around Rs 3 billion. It was a mega project completed under the tenure of former minister for planning, Ahsan Iqbal.
The accused PML-N leader emphasizes that the allegations against him are not of embezzlement per se. The project itself had been initiated under the PPP-led government before 2013. Iqbal states that when the PML-N formed its government in 2013, as planning minister, he took up the Narowal Sports City (NSC) project as one among many incomplete projects. Moreover, he takes the view that these funds were approved by the federal cabinet, the parliament and the National Economic Council.
The amount spent on the NSC exceeded the original cost, but Ahsan Iqbal explains this as the result of revised cost assessments which took place when work on the project was renewed during his tenure as minister.
The former minister, in his comments to the media, has also highlighted the fact that even though he handled much larger projects and heftier sums during his time in government – including China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects – there are still no allegations of embezzlement against him as such.