LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) yesterday extended until December 5 protective bail of former minister for railways Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique in a case under investigation with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The Division Bench headed by Justice Tariq Abbasi also directed the NAB chairman to make a decision on the application moved by the Khawaja brothers for transfer of inquiry against them from the Lahore Bureau.

The counsel for the applicant during arguments assailed credibility and independence of the NAB and accused NAB Lahore DG Shahzad Saleem of playing a partisan role and framing cases against PML-N leaders. He brought to the court notice the ‘controversial interviews’ the DG gave to different television channels about the PML-N leaders.

He said an application for the transfer of the inquiries against the petitioners was pending decision before the NAB chairman and urged the court to give a direction for a decision on the same. The NAB prosecutor said the NAB chairman was likely to decide the application in question within three days.

The bench also noted when the prosecutor said the petitioners were not given reasons for their likely arrest. He said details will be provided at the time of arrest. The bench extended the pre-arrest interim bail of the Khawaja brothers till December 5 with the same direction to the NAB chairman.

Previously, the petitioners’ counsel had pleaded that since the arrest of opposition leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, it had become a matter of public knowledge that officials of the NAB had been abusing the process of law for political victimization. He alleged that the NAB had become a tool in the hands of incumbent government and resorted to victimization of political opponents. Rafiq and Salman stated that they had nothing to do with the Paragon City.

The petitioners said they had already provided the NAB with all information required by the interrogators but they were being summoned time and again with mala fide intension.

The NAB initiated an inquiry against the Khawaja brothers in Paragon City scam. Saad Rafique is also facing inquiries with regard to railways and Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme.

Later, talking to the media, Khawaja Saad Rafique said that the NAB had failed to produce even a single evidence against him and his brother. He alleged that the case against him and his brother was framed on the basis of personal vendetta of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who he added, was personally monitoring progress of the case. He said Imran Khan introduced a culture of hate.

Commenting on the 100-day plan of the PTI government, the former railways minister said the PTI gave nothing to people except burden of foreign loans.

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court issued notice to the NAB on a petition moved by daughter of former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry challenging arrest of her husband in Eden Housing Scheme scam.

Ifra Murtaza pleaded through her counsel Asad Manzoor Butt that the NAB had deceptively got her husband Murtaza Amjad declared a proclaimed offender and later arrested him from Dubai. The counsel asked the bench to declare the arrest of the petitioner’s husband illegal and order the NAB to release him immediately.

To a court’s query, a NAB prosecutor said that the reference against the suspect has not been filed before the trial court so far. However, he said the arrest of the suspect was made after due process of law. The bench directed the NAB to submit a written reply to the petition.