Sheikh Rasheed files reference against PM Abbasi in ECP


ISLAMABAD: Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on Thursday submitted a reference against Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking his disqualification from office.

“PM Abbasi has not remained Sadiq and Ameen as he, among others, signed an agreement to buy Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) which involved irregularities of up to Rs200 billion,” Rasheed stated in his plea.

The agreement, in addition to several business tycoons, included former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar, whom, Rasheed said, have also been named in the plea.

Speaking to reporters after filing the reference, Rasheed said that he will move the Supreme Court if ECP did not entertain his petition. According to the AML chief, he was receiving threats for filing the plea to open a case [against PM Abbasi], saying he intended to approach courts for several other such cases as well.

He urged PM Abbasi to increase the number of judges in the courts. “We don’t want to burden the National Accountability Bureau.”

According to media reports, Abbasi, who was previously federal minister for petroleum and natural resources, has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after a 17-month-long enquiry into alleged corruption of Rs220 billion in LNG projects.

Abbasi was elected as the country’s premier earlier this month following Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification by the Supreme Court. He also holds the portfolio of the newly-formed ‘energy ministry’, which was established by merging the ministries of power and petroleum.

Sheikh Rasheed was one of the three petitioners in the Panama Papers case. He has also submitted a petition in the SC against NAB’s failure to reopen the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case.