–Saad Rafique says political victimisation spree ‘under accountability’s cloak’ won’t last long
LAHORE: An accountability court on Saturday extended the physical remand of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother, Khawaja Salman Rafique by 14 days in the Paragon Housing Society scam.
Seeking an extension in their physical remand, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials produced the PML-N leaders before the court amid tight security. Heavy contingents of police were deployed outside the court to prevent the PML-N workers from disrupting the law and order situation.
During the hearing, the judge asked the NAB investigator regarding the number of people who had been issued notices to. To which he replied that a total of “32 individuals have been summoned by the anti-graft watchdog”.
When inquired about Saad Rafique’s [direct] involvement in the scam, the NAB official responded that the “bureau will [soon] provide the evidence of the involvement of the former minister”.
The bureau then requested the court to give an extension in the physical remand of the detainees which was met with objections by the opposing counsel. The court, which at first reserved its decision, later extended their physical remand by two weeks.
The court was then adjourned until January 19.
Speaking to reporters outside the court, Saad Rafique said that a spree of political victimisation was underway in the name of accountability. “But it will not last long. We are not corrupt and our conscience is clear.”
He said that those who had brought Prime Minister Imran Khan to power were now regretting it.
“The country has been handed over to incompetent people who are pushing it towards crisis,” he said, adding that the upcoming budget would bring along inflation.
“The nation would soon rid itself of the civil dictatorship that is running the country.”
Khawaja brother had been arrested on December 11 after the Lahore High Court (LHC) had rejected their bail plea. During the hearing, the former railways minister’s counsel had informed the court that his client had nothing to do with Paragon Housing scam and was being framed in the case.
NAB had launched an investigation into the alleged scam in November last year after a number of victims had staged protests and held a press conference at the Lahore Press Club against the fraud committed by the housing society.
Last year, the anti-graft authority had also arrested former Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general Ahad Khan Cheema and others over allegations of corruption in the Ashiana Housing Scheme scam.
During the investigation, it was revealed that Cheema had misused his authority and received huge sums of money in return for awarding the contract of the project to Casa Developers that was ineligible for it.
The amount was allegedly paid from the account of the Paragon Housing Society.