ISLAMABAD - For­mer PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday filed a post-arrest bail petition in the Islamabad High Court. The petition was filed by Abbasi’s counsel Barrister Zafarullah Khan in the high court. The Ministry of Law and the National Account­ability Bureau have been made respondents in the plea.

The petition seeks high court to approve the bail until completion of his trial in NAB’s LNG refer­ence. A copy of the court decision with regard to bail granted to Sheikh Im­ranul Haq, a co-accused in the LNG case, has also been attached with the petition. “The petitioner has been in NAB detention for 191 days and the real motive of the accountability bureau is only to harass the petition­er,” the plea argued. It was initiated for his media trial, according to the plea. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed an interim reference against the petitioner till now, the petition said. The petition­er and other accused were not even provided the cop­ies of the reference so far, the petition said. Abbasi pleaded to the court for ap­proval of his post arrest bail in the case.

PML-N supreme leader and three-time PM Nawaz Sharif, who is in London, had reportedly asked party colleague Sha­hid Khaqan Abbasi to seek his release from prison on bail. Sharif also instructed Abbasi to contest corrup­tion allegations levelled against him by the NAB after coming out of jail. Wasting energies in facing accountability based on po­litical vendetta will serve no purpose, Sharif was quoted as saying. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had previ­ously refused to file a bail plea. Earlier, on Jan 21, an accountability court had ex­tended the judicial remand of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi till Feb 04 in LNG reference.