Saad Rafique makes first NA appearance after arrest

Published: December 21, 2018
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) member of the National Assembly, Khawaja Saad Rafique, on Friday described the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law as a “black law” and alleged that it had been used to victimise political opponents since the beginning.

Speaking in the house, Rafique said that the Charter of Democracy, his party signed with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) more than a decade ago, should be extended to other parties because political reconciliation was the only way to assert the supremacy of parliament.

“The Charter of Democracy is a respected document after the Constitution of Pakistan and other political parties should be included in it for its effectiveness,” he told the house. “We don’t want to see anyone behind bars.”

NA speaker issues Saad Rafique’s production order

Speaking about the accountability process in the country, Rafique said that the NAB law was a “black law” which had been used for victimisation of political rivals since the day it was enacted. And in stentorian voice he also criticised the previous government of his own party.

“Even the accountability during the PML-N government was not transparent,” the party stalwart thundered in the house. “The opposition and the government benches must stop fighting each other and instead fight against poverty, illiteracy and other challenges the country is facing,” he added.

Rafique attended the National Assembly session for the first time since his arrest by the NAB in the Paragaon Housing Society case. He was able to come to the assembly after Speaker Asad Qaiser issued his production order.

He, however, lamented the delay in the issuance of his production orders, saying had if the speaker issued the order earlier, the assembly “proceedings wouldn’t have been interrupted” due to the opposition protest.

“I have met the speaker a few times and he is a genuine and strong man. I realised that he faced a lot of pressure and as a result of your [assembly’s] efforts, today I got the chance to speak here,” he said, while thanking lawmakers.

Rafique, the former railways minister, told the house that NAB conducted inquiry against him during the tenure of former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for three years but later it issued a letter of regret after it found nothing.

Even this time, he claimed, NAB could not produce any evidence of wrongdoing against him in the Paragaon Housing Society. He alleged that his old friend was coerced to turn approver against him. However, he added that even he (the approver) failed to produce anything against him.

He said that the assets and income that he had been declaring in his tax returns was now being used as a charge-sheet against him. He warned that members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) might be arrested to create a balance.

Rafique brothers’ NAB nightmare comes true

“During NAB investigation, I was asked about Abdul Aleem Khan. I replied that he is a decent man. I told them not to ask question about political opponents,” he said, calling for an end to a campaign of damaging each other’s reputation and hurling accusations.

He also commented on the speculation of former president Asif Ali Zardari’s looming arrest and warned that it would create disturbance throughout the country. He said that sane elements should come forward and play their role rid the country of challenges.

Earlier, Rafique was received by Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif on his arrival at the Parliament House. Talking to the media outside Parliament House, Rafique said that accountability process should be made transparent.

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