KARACHI - An accountability court in Karachi on Saturday charged Javid Hanif, a Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) member of the provincial assembly, and others in a corruption case.

The court read the charges of corruption against the accused including Javid Hanif, Rauf Akhar Farooqi and others. They refuted the charges and opted to contest the case. The court directed the prosecution to produce witnesses at the next hearing to be held on November 19.

MQM former leader Babar Ghauri was also nominated in the same case and facing the charges of massive corruption when he was federal minister for ports and shipping between 2008 and 2013. Ghauri was declared an absconder in the case, as he failed to attend the NAB hearing.

Ghauri is the main suspect in the corruption reference involving 940 illegal appointments to the KPT in 2012. However, the court separated his reference as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had failed to arrest him. The court had already issued non-bailable warrants for his arrest.

According to the NAB prosecution, the appointments were made in violation of KPT law, rules and regulations and resulted in loss to national exchequer to the tune of Rs2.8 billion. Javed Hanif, who is former chairman of the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), had allegedly played a vital role in this illegal practice.

The NAB has nominated as many as eight accused in the reference including Babar Ghauri, Javed Hanif, Rauf Akthar Farooqui, former director of the Gwadar Port Seras Ahmed, Muhammad Sharif, Muhammad Iqbal and Ameer Ali Brhoi.

According to the NAB prosecution, the former KPT chairperson played, along with Ghauri, a direct role in illegal appointments that were made against the KPT rules and regulations without any advertisement.

It has also been alleged that many people who were illegally appointed to the KPT were criminals. The appointments reportedly caused the national exchequer a loss of billions of rupees.

The NAB stated that during Ghauri’s tenure, about 1,200 people were illegally appointed to Karachi Port Trust (KPT), wherein 125 grade 17 officers were also hired. However, all the appointees were hired in one night, the reference stated.

Ghauri, who is currently out of country, was summoned to come with records, but he avoided appearing in this regard, thus, he was issued red notice as well.