Published On: Tue, Feb 13th, 2018

LNG deal: SC dismisses Sheikh Rashid’s petition against PM Abbasi

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed plea of Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rashid seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi over embezzlement in LNG deal.

The AML chief had pleaded the apex court to disqualify PM Abbasi on the grounds that he allegedly awarded liquefied natural gas (LNG) import contract in 2015 with Qatar as federal minister for petroleum and natural resources without observing transparency in bidding.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar heard the case.

During the hearing, the Chief Justice observed that in his opinion the issue does not fall under Article 184 (3) and if the petitioner thinks that the deal is murky then he should approach National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The NAB is independent and is fully empowered to secure national interests, he remarked.

Arguing before the bench, Sheikh Rashid’s counsel Latif Khosa said the government misused the authority and violated court’s orders in signing agreement to purchase the LNG.

The petition stated that Pakistan had to incur a loss of billions of dollars due to this illegal agreement. According to it, Qatari company is supplying LNG to Pakistan since 2015; however, the agreement came into force on February 8, 2016. Then what about the prices of LNG from June 2015 to January 2016.

The petition added that importing LNG without agreement is illegal and it calls into question the integrity of PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Transparency is must while awarding contracts of public interest, it maintained.

Meanwhile, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan said that the nation desperately awaits as the secrecy surrounding this multi billion dollar deal with Qatar has aroused all manner of suspicions.

Hopefully today details about the LNG deal will be made public in the SC, he tweeted before the hearing.–Agencies

 

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