KARACHI: The Sindh High Court adjourned the hearing in a petition filed against the arrest of former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain in 2015 by the Rangers. The hearing was adjourned due to the non-availability of the petitioner’s lawyer, Abid Zuberi.
The petition against Dr Asim’s arrest was filed by his wife, Zareen.
A junior lawyer informed the two-member bench that Zuberi was busy in Islamabad with an important case.
The court adjourned the hearing.
The petition states that Dr Asim’s arrest by the Rangers was illegal. It calls for a discussion on the powers given to the Rangers and its legalities and for the illegal arrests made by the paramilitary force to be made part of the record.
Meanwhile, an accountability court summoned more witnesses at the next hearing of the Rs462 billion corruption reference against Dr Asim and other accused.
Dr Asim and the other suspects were present in the court while NAB’s witness, Shoaib Saleem, was also present.
The next hearing will be on August 16.
Speaking to the media after the hearing, Dr Asim said he was staying out of politics for the meantime as politics has gone out of service and the country is embracing a new change.
He said he still hasn’t met any party leader since coming back to Pakistan. Dr Asim said he didn’t know whether former president Asif Ali Zardari will appear before the Federal Investigation Agency or not.
He declined commenting on who the next chief minister of Sindh will be.
A close friend of Zardari’s, Dr Asim was picked up by the Rangers from his office in Clifton for his alleged involvement in facilitating the treatment of terrorists at his private hospitals and misappropriation of funds. The Rangers took him into custody for 90 days and he was later handed over to the police after cases were registered against him for treating and harbouring militants and gangsters at his hospital.
The former petroleum minister has been accused of corruption. In 2016, he was indicted by an accountability court in a Rs460 million corruption reference. Among other cases, the NAB also filed a reference of Rs60 billion against him for misusing authority to allot plots and encroach upon state land for the expansion of Ziauddin Hospital, which is owned by him. During his previous tenure as head of the Sindh Higher Education Commission, allegations were leveled against him regarding misuse of the commission’s funds.
During his stay in jail, the Pakistan Peoples Party also made him president of its Karachi division. However, a few months after his release, he was told to relinquish the post and was replaced by Saeed Ghani in November last year.