By Abdullah Zahid.
ISLAMABAD: An accountability court indicted on Tuesday PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal in the Narowal Sports City Complex corruption case. He has been accused of misusing his powers and embezzling funds.
A hearing for the reference was held on Tuesday by accountability judge Syed Asghar Ali.
Former Pakistan Sports Board director-general Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, Sarfraz Rasool, ministry of planning officer Asif Sheikh and a private contractor named Muhammad Ahmed were also charged for their involvement in the case.
All the accused including Ahsan Iqbal pleaded not guilty and opted to face them.
During the hearing, Ahsan Iqbal, before his indictment, raised his objections over the process and said a judge first needed to ascertain whether there was even the case or not. “A judge does not speak only after listening to the prosecution,” he added.
However, Asghar Ali – the accountability court judge – stopped him from arguing and said, “They are not sitting here for hearing such things.”
“Submit an application if you want to or talk through your lawyer,” said the presiding judge who went on with the indictment. “We are saying this after looking into the presented record that prima facie there is a case,” he noted.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has stated that the sports city project was conceived on the instruction of Iqbal without any feasibility report. This project was first called the Sports Stadium Narowal. It was initially approved at a cost of Rs34.74 million by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP), which Iqbal headed.
NAB maintains that Iqbal illegally directed the PSB (PSB) and NESPAK to increase the project’s scope, enhancing the cost to Rs97.52 million. The accountability court has summoned witnesses from NAB against Ahsan Iqbal on January 12.
Ahsan Iqbal, however, has denied the accusations, saying that the government is wasting state resources in construing lies.
“The purpose of these false references is to discredit, pressure, and hurt the Opposition,” the former federal minister said while speaking to the media after the hearing.
Ahsan Iqbal said the government is wasting state resources on lies by making cases against people who have nothing to do with corruption.
He added that the Chief Justice has ordered media to broadcast the proceedings of political cases live on TV so that the public should know how many pawns Imran Khan Niazi has in the accountability bureau.
“The person who made the illegal construction of Bani Gala appear legit is making a case against us,” Ahsan Iqbal claimed. “Imran Khan demolished the houses of hundreds of poor people by declaring them illegal.”
He added that action should be taken against the Capital Development Authority (CDA) officers for illegal regularisation of Imran Khan’s house.
“Bani Gala’s NRO recipients will not be forgiven,” Ahsan Iqbal said. “Imran Khan used his office and his powers to regularise the house. “NAB could not prove any financial corruption against me.”