ISLAMABAD - Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Friday said that former Prime Minister and senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had approved the contract of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) showing favouritism towards the parties involved in the contract.

Talking to media here at National Accountability Bureau (NAB) office, the minister said that Shahid Khaqan played a significant role in awarding contract to import LNG which inflicted billions of rupees loss to the national exchequer.

Sheikh Rashid said that the previous government had intentionally made expensive contract to import LNG from Qatar, adding, that he was ready for rendering cooperation to the NAB in this scandal.

The minister said that during the tenure of the previous government of PML-N not a single advancement was made in the field of oil and gas and it just befooled the nation. He said that the contract was awarded for $272,000 instead of $100,000.

“During the process it was shown that the agreement had been made between two countries whereas one company had been set up in Pakistan and the other in Qatar,” he stated.

Sheikh Rashid said that the incumbent government was taking concrete measures to address the energy crisis prevailing in the country. So, there was no option left for the government but to increase gas tariff, he added. “My case regarding LNG scandal is very simple and straight, he said.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan has been making extraordinary efforts to improve the poor economic situation caused by the corruption of the families of Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif,” he added.

The minister underscored that he would like to remind Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari that Sheikh Rashid did not have lust for any ministry.

To a question, Sheikh Rashid said that the nation would hear good news during this month regarding Pakistan Railways which was the cheapest source of transportation for general public.

He said that the government had formed a three member committee including Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid on Main Line-I (ML-I) project from Karachi to Peshawar.

The minister said that the development work on ML-I would be started soon in three phases which was initiated 14 years ago.

Sheikh Rashid said that he had already informed that there was going to be a wipe out in March which was delayed due to Pak-India tension and now it would be done in May-June.

The minister said that if Asif Zardari and Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif were not punished today then the nation would have to pay the price for their plundering of national exchequer.