Judge releases Ismail Qureshi

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An accountability court on Saturday released former establishment secretary Ismail Qureshi on preconditions, directing him to appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) whenever he was required to, as a private TV channel reported Qureshi as saying that he had simply been following the orders of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani all along. Qureshi was brought to the accountability court with Administrative Judge Tariq Abbasi hearing the case. He was held by NAB for his alleged involvement in the illegal appointment of Adnan Khwaja as the managing director (MD) of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL). However, it was inadvertently included in a report in Pakistan Today on Friday that Qureshi was arrested for his alleged involvement in financial embezzlement at the National School of Public Policy. During the course of hearing on Saturday, the judge asked the investigating officer why Qureshi had been arrested and whether he had been summoned by NAB for enquiry before his arrest, upon which the officer told the court that Qureshi was required for investigation into the record of the case regarding the illegal appointment of Khwaja, because of which he was arrested. He also admitted that NAB did not summon Qureshi before his arrest. The judge remarked that there was a huge difference between an investigation and an enquiry, and expressed surprise that he had been arrested when he was willing to cooperate with the enquiry. Qureshi assured the court that he would fully cooperate with the authorities during the enquiry and also submitted a surety bond for his release and assured the court that he would appear before NAB whenever he was told to do so. After hearing the arguments, the court released Qureshi with orders to appear before NAB whenever he was required to. Qureshi told reporters after his release that he issued all orders on instructions of the prime minister, but the responsibility had been placed on him.