Pakistan’s anti-graft body on Thursday arrested former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in a multi-billion-rupee case related to the award of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import contract. A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team intercepted Abbasi’s car at Thokar Niaz Baig in Lahore and arrested him. He initially resisted the arrest but eventually conceded. Abbasi, who served as the prime minister from August 2017 to May 2018, had come here from Islamabad to hold a press conference but he was arrested before reaching the venue of the event.
The NAB was probing alleged corruption in the award of contract to import LNG from Qatar by Abbasi when he was minister for petroleum and natural resources in the cabinet of former premier Nawaz Sharif. Abbasi has denied the charges and said that he would prove his innocence in any court of law. He would be presented before a NAB court to get remand for further investigation.
Earlier, NAB had summoned him on Thursday in the case but he skipped the appearance. Prime Minister Imran Khan is in Lahore and opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) alleged that Abbasi has been arrested on his direct order.
"We strongly condemn this arrest as Imran Khan Niazi wants to put all opposition leaders in jail," PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif said. He said there has been unholy alliance between Imran Khan and the NAB.
“This is a shameful victimization of opposition leaders by Niazi. Opposition cannot be intimidated through such fascist actions,” he said.
Three-time prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif is already serving seven years imprisonment in the Al-Azizia Mills case. Opposition Pakistan Peoples’ Party’s co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari is also in NAB’s custody in fake bank accounts case.