LAHORE - A local accountability court on Saturday extended by another week the physical remand of former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq and his brother Salman Rafiq for investigation into their alleged involvement in the Paragon Housing Society scandal.

The judge directed the relevant authorities to produce them before him on Feb 2.

NAB had sought two weeks remand to be able to complete investigations. The institution’s prosecutor said that since Saad remained in Islamabad for full one week the NAB could not continue its investigation during this period.

The Khawaja brothers’ counsel, however, opposed the plea, saying this was the fifth time that the NAB has sought extension to the remand.

The judge, however, accepted NAB’s plea.

Talking to reporters, Khawaja Saad claimed no proof has so far been produced against him and his brother.

As for his production order for appearance in the National assembly session, the former minister said it was his right, not a concession. He said production orders were issued even during Gen Musharraf’s rule. He was also critical of the federal government for the mini budget it has introduced.

LHC to take up petition against Nisar

The Lahore High Court will take up on Monday a petition moved against former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan for his failure to take oath as a member of the Punjab Assembly even six months after the July 25 general elections.

The petitioner has urged the LHC to give a direction to the Election Commission of Pakistan to de-notify Nisar Ali Khan as a member-elect. Nisar had contested the 2018 general elections from two NA and two provincial seats, losing all but from the PA-10 constituency.

Although nobody knows why the former interior minister is shy of taking oath as an MPA, political observers say that he regards a provincial seat below his status. He was expecting success on all four seats he was a candidate from. Also, he was planning to vacate the provincial seats, retaining his NA seat. However, the election results shattered all his dreams.

The petition states that Nisar’s failure to take oath is not only an insult to the voters but also a violation of the Article 2A, 17 and 25 of the Constitution.

“The act of not taking oath amounts to depriving the people of said locality from their fundamental right enshrine in the Articles 2-A, 17 and 25 of the Constitution because representation is an activity of citizens’ voices, opinions and perspectives ‘present’ in public policy making process,” the petition notes, adding that “representation only occurs when representative speaks, advocates, symbolises and acts on the behalf of the electors in parliament.”

It may be pointed out that PML-N leader Khwaja Saad Rafiq was also defeated from the NA seat but was elected from the provincial seat. He had taken the oath as an MPA. However, in a subsequent by-election from Lahore, he was elected as an MNA. Vacating his provincial seat, Khwaja Saad took oath as an MNA and has been performing his duties since then.