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Corruption petition seeking PM Abbasi’s disqualification in LNG case dismissed

ISLAMABAD -UNS- The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed by Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed asking the court to disqualify Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution by declaring the liquefied natural gas (LNG) contracts reached under his watch illegal and unlawful.

After hearing the arguments presented by Rashid’s counsel, senior lawyer Latif Khosa, a three-member SC bench ruled that the petition did not fall within the ambit of Article 184(3) of the Constitution, which empowers the court to enforce citizens’ fundamental rights.

The court directed the petitioner to approach the National Accountability Bureau over his complaint instead.

The petition had accused Abbasi and other respondents of committing corruption by hiding facts and plundering money through illegal LNG contacts.

At the outset of the hearing on Monday, Khosa claimed that the government is abusing its powers and committing serious violations of court orders.

Asked by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar to inform the court about facts of the case, Khosa said there are vast reserves of natural gas within Pakistan.

An interesting scenario then occurred. Khosa, who paused his arguments due to the sound of thunder, said the thunderclap was the result of “misdeeds like LNG [illegal contracts]”.

“Rain is a blessing from Allah, you continue your arguments,” the chief justice quipped while addressing Khosa, before adding: “Thundering clouds seldom rain.”

After hearing Khosa’s arguments, the court rejected the application with the observation that the petitioner was not an aggrieved party in the case, and directed him to approach NAB in light of previous court verdicts with his complaint.

NAB can check the entire record for investigation into alleged corruption in LNG contracts, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked.

“We don’t want to hear cases of political nature,” the CJP commented, observing that the NAB of today is independent enough to tackle such matters.

He said if the court decided to take up the case, it would restart the flow of political cases coming to SC’s door.

“Such [political] cases caused us a lot of embarrassment on global level,” Justice Nisar observed, referring to the Steel Mills and Reko Diq cases.

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