LAHORE: An accountability court on Monday acquitted a ruling party leader and incumbent senator in a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference for want of sufficient evidence.
Judge Ahmad Nawaz Ranjha observed in his order that NAB had failed to prove the allegations against Senator Jahangir Badr of the Pakistan Peoples Party, therefore, the reference was liable to be dismissed.
The bureau had accused Badr of making illegal appointments in his ministry during his tenure as petroleum minister. He was also accused of misuse of authority by illegally allowing different people to set up 61 petrol stations of Pakistan State Oil. The reference was made in 2003. Another NAB reference, filed in 2003, accused him of acquiring assets disproportionate to his known sources of income during his stint as a federal minister.
On October 3, 2008, an accountability court of Lahore had acquitted him from the reference while invoking presidential pardon under the National Reconciliation Ordinance, promulgated by former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. Later, after the Supreme Court cancelled the ordinance in December 2009, NAB started its proceedings afresh.
Speaking to reporters after attending court proceedings, Badr said that the decision was a victory of justice and that the reference was made in the dictatorial regime of Musharraf based on political victimisation. He said that he will also defend the second NAB reference of accumulating illegal assets which, he said, was another example of political victimisation.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2010.
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