Lahore - An accountability court expressed displeasure over the non-presence of defence lawyers in a case of illegal appointments in the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco).

As per the case filed by NAB in 2016, 437 illegal recruitments were made in the company. During the hearing, the court refused to adjourn the hearing, ordered the accused to come along with their counsels to cross-examine the investigation officers.

Special Judge Accountability Court Syed Najamul Hassan had indicted former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and eight others in a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference on the charge of making illegal appointments.

Meanwhile, an application for exempting Raja Pervaiz Ashraf from appearing before the court was submitted by his counsel. Raja’s counsel Shahid Iftikhar argued that his client wanted to appear before the court as usual but he could not come due to bad weather and traffic mess especially on the motorway. He claimed that his client never wrote any letter or gave orders to anyone for providing jobs against the merit. He claimed that the case was frivolous and baseless. He said that Pepco had made the recruitments on its own as it was an autonomous body. He said that all recruited people had been sent home and no loss was caused to the national kitty. After hearing the request, the court adjourned the hearing.

As per the NAB reference, Raja Pervaiz as minister for water and power, had written a letter to then Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) managing director Tahir Basharat Cheema to waive the condition of written test and recruit a total of 437 people in violation of merit. The other eight accused include Ibrahim, Hashmat Ali Kazmi, Shahid Rafi, Tahir Basharat Cheema, Malik Muhammad, Razi Abbas, Saleem Arif and Wazir Ali.