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November 9, 2018

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Asma Alamgir assets case: PHC orders NAB to complete probe in 45 working days

Asma Alamgir assets case: PHC orders NAB to complete probe in 45 working days

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to complete the inquiry into the assets of Asma Alamgir, the former advisor to prime minister, within 45 working days. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Muhammad Ayub issued the direction to the NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in a writ petition.

Asma Alamgir, a leader of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and former Member National Assembly Asma Alamgir had filed the petition to seek the court's order to restrain the anti-graft body from arresting and harassing her during the inquiry into her assets.

The court had stopped the NAB from arresting and harassing her till completion of the inquiry. After the court's decision in her petition, Asma Alamgir told the media the NAB chairman is biased and has leaned towards the government.

She pointed out that on the one hand the opposition's female leader and others are being politically victimized and on the other, former KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak wasenjoying the office of defence minister even though an inquiry of embezzlement of funds against him was continuing. "This showed that the NAB chairman was biased," she argued.

During the hearing, the petitioner's lawyer Barrister Mudasir Ameer submitted that for the last four and a half years the NAB KP had been issuing call-up notices to the petitioner in the assets inquiry case. He informed the bench that the petitioner had already submitted all the details and information sought by the investigation officer and was cooperating with the NAB in the inquiry. However, he submitted that the petitioner being a female felt embarrassed and insecure after receiving call-up notices from time to time, asking her to appear before the investigation officer.

He requested the court to issue an order to the anti-graft body to stop her harassment and arrest in the inquiry as there is precedent in the past that NAB had been arresting suspects in call-up notices and the petitioner is also feeling insecure after receiving call-up notice.

The NAB prosecutors submitted before the bench that there was no intention to arrest the former MNA, adding, the call-up notice had been issued to seek further details about her assets. In the writ petition, Asma Alamgir claimed NAB had started her political victimization for the last four and a half years.

Her petition said she had furnished several times the required information but NAB had again issued her a call-up notice. The PPP leader said she had nothing to do with the Zarak and Town Tower plazas shops, offices and 16 shops at Jehangirabad Road as these were in the name of her husband. She said the NAB had mixed her assets with that of her husband in the case as part of political victimization.

The NAB had issued call-up notice to Asma Alamgir on August 10 this year under Section 19 of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 for accumulating assets beyond known sources of income.

The NAB asked her for providing the complete details of all her movable and immovable assets whether inland or abroad along with supporting documents and justification for its acquisition. The NAB wanted year-wise details of rental income received from Zarak and Town Tower plazas shops, offices and 16 shops at the Jehangirabad Road, details of her share of income received from inherited and gifted agriculture land in Peshawar since 2005, ownership record of apartment at downtown Dubai or in case of hiring, rent agreement and all renewal of agreement and supporting documents and ownership record of office of M/S AAZB General Trading (LLC) at Dubai (UAE) along with supporting documents.

Besides, the NAB wanted information about the company's bank accounts statements in UAE, 'Biana' agreements of houses and shops in Islamabad, details of private foreign visits along with expenses and information about educational expenses of children who studied abroad.

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