ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan yesterday turned down Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed’s petition seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Shahid Khan Abbasi over alleged irregularities in award of multi-billion rupees LNG.

Rasheed had pleaded the court to disqualify the PM alleging that Abbasi, as petroleum minister in 2015, awarded the contract for import of liquefied natural gas in violation of bidding rules.

In the petition, filed the petition through Latif Khosa advocate, he also sought court directives to the National Accountability Bureau chairman to initiate inquiry against the premier.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heard the petition and dismissed it saying that the petitioner may invoke NAB jurisdiction for remedy.

The bench observed that the apex court has nothing to do with the matter in hand as the LNG contract was signed between two governments and it is presumed that the contract conditions would have been fulfilled.

In response to the allegations that incumbent government was not only violating the court orders but also misusing the power, the chief justice said it would be better if the petitioner’s counsel apprised the court about facts of the case at hand.

Latif Khosa submitted that there are huge reservoirs of natural gas in Pakistan and new reserves are not being discovered under the contract signed with the UAE.

After hearing the counsel, the bench dismissed the plea on the grounds that the matter does not fall under the purview of Article 184(3) of Constitution.

The APML president had alleged that government ignored directions of the apex court in the LNG contract which caused a dent of billions of dollars on the national exchequer.

He prayed to the apex court to recover alleged looted/plundered money from the respondents by virtue of the impugned contracts, deal or bid.

Seeking declaration of the contracts as illegal, unlawful, ultra vires and ineffective in the eyes of law, Sheikh Rasheed further requested the court to pass an order against all illegalities and irregularities in the contract amid ‘omission and commission’ of all the officers and functionaries involved in the contract.