ISLAMABAD                 -              General Secretary Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Sindh and former federal minister of Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Miftah Ismail has said that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) could not find a single terminal outside Pakistan that has a lower cost than which they set up in the country.

Breaking his almost three months silence since he was released from Adiala Jail on bail in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) case on December 26, 2019, he took to twitter to state that that there are more than 30 terminals set up outside Pakistan and if NAB can find one, just one, terminal that has a lower cost, they will plead guilty to whatever charges NAB wishes to frame. “Since being bailed out, I have been away from political twitter for exactly 3 month. Today I rejoin. I wanted to tweet in detail about my NAB case & incarceration but today Pak is facing the gravest crisis it has faced. Therefore my personal story and suffering is unimportant,” he said breaking his silence on the day NAB named former petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in a reference for allegedly appointing Sheikh Imranul Haq as the managing director of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) “in sheer violation of rules and regulations”.

“Today I will only say that I was in NAB’s solitary confinement for 50 days and thereafter in Adiyala jail for 3 months. No reference has been filled against us for setting up an LNG import terminal even though I was arrested on August 6, 2019 and Khaqan Abbasi on July 18, 2019,” he said in one of the 8 tweets. Miftah was released from Adiala jail after Islamabad High Court issued his release orders on submission of surety bonds worth Rs10 million. NAB had filed a reference in the LNG case against nine suspects, including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Miftah Ismail, for misuse of power.

He said ‘to make it easy for NAB’, lawyers for him and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had said in the court that there are more than 30 terminals set up outside Pakistan and if NAB can find one, just one, terminal that has a lower cost they will plead guilty to whatever charges NAB wishes to frame. “Obviously NAB hasn’t been able to find a single cheaper terminal anywhere in the world. Not one. Yet we were still arrested,” he added.

He said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and he make a similar offer to NAB for the LNG gas PSO bought from Qatar. “If NAB can find a one deal — not two, not three, just one — that’s cheaper than the deal we have with Qatar up to that time then we will plead guilty to any charges NAB wants to frame against us,” he said. Interesting the one deal NAB itself brought to court, India’s deal with Qatar, signed a month before Pakistan signed, also shows that India’s deal was more expensive than Pak. NAB’s consultant just didn’t understand the difference between slope and constant. You can verify, he added.

“For me as a politician it is unfortunately an occupational hazard to go to jail in the new Pakistan — I guess we are back in the 70s, 80s and 90s. But I feel badly for Imran ul Haq, MD PSO, who was also jailed with us. He too was arrested for no reason. I hope he gets justice,” Miftah said. He said that he mentioned Imran ul Haq because NAB has filed another reference against him, Shahid Abbasi and Arshad Mirza (Secretary Petroleum under us and Education under PTI). He said in the midst of the corona crisis arrest warrants for Shahid Abbasi and Mirza were issued.

A statement released by NAB’s Karachi chapter on Friday said that non-bailable arrest warrants have been issued for the former prime minister as well as former petroleum secretary Arshad Mirza, who is also named in the reference. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has condemned the issuing of non-bailable warrants against Abbasi, saying, “instead of fighting against the Coronavirus, NAB-Niazi are busy fighting the media and opposition.”