ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday granted time to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to submit its reply in a petition seeking post-arrest bail for former finance minister Miftah Ismail. A division bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted hearing of the bail petition of Ismail who has been behind bars for over four months in connection with the investigation into the LNG terminal case.

During the hearing, Justice Athar expressed his concern over not-submission of reply by the NAB in the bail plea of former finance minister.

The bench remarked that a notice had been served to the anti-graft body, then why the authority did not submit its reply in this connection. To this, the NAB prosecutor requested the court to grant further time which was allowed by the court.

Later, the IHC bench deferred hearing of the case till December 17 for further proceedings in this matter. 

In his petition, the counsel for Miftah adopted before the court that NAB on August 7 had arrested his client in connection with the LNG terminal case. According to the counsel, “The grounds of arrest of the petitioner are wholly inadequate to justify the continued incarceration of such an illustrious citizen on concocted and cooked-up allegations”.

Furthermore, the counsel said that the NAB had also failed to highlight any loss to the national exchequer because of any alleged wrongdoing of Ismail.

According to the petition, the NAB without making an effort to provide benchmarks or any other data to show what is and what is not exorbitant is alleging that the process of award of the LNG terminal project was fraudulent and overpriced.

“However, despite keeping the petitioner in custody, it is blindingly obvious that NAB does not have any material to justify its claim of exorbitant returns.” The petition asserted that the allegations with respect to exorbitant capacity charges and allowances of idle time were prior to the petitioner’s assuming of the role of a non-executive director of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited.