Rental power case: Pervaiz Ashraf seeks exemption from appearing before court

Islamabad: Former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf today appeared before accountability court (AC) in Sumandri rental power project’s corruption reference and filed a plea seeking exemption from appearance in all hearings.

The court has issued a notice to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and sought a reply on October 9. Accountability court’s judge Nisar Baig was hearing the rental power reference. As many as 12 alleged corrupt persons presented themselves before the court. Former secretary Water and Power Shahid Rafi, former secretary Ismail Qureshi, ex-managing directors (MD) of Pepco Tahir Basharat Cheema and Munawar Baseer were among those present.

The nominated persons are accused of graft, violation of the laws and granting illegal contracts. Copies of the reference were provided to all the accused persons during hearing. The plea moved by the former PM mentions ‘security concerns’ as reason to seek excuse from attendance. The next hearing will see initiation of indictment process.

While talking to the media after court hearing, Pervaiz Ashraf said that he is accused of graft and not of corruption. He said that allegations are raised against every person, who comes in power once at least. He expects justice from the accountability court, he added.

He answered a question saying that federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique had approached the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan, regarding rental power project whereas he has granted rental power-cum-IPPs in his tenure.

The former prime minister was implicated in the case when he was minister of water and power. At the time, he oversaw the import of short-term power stations that cost the government millions of dollars but produced little energy. A ship-mounted power unit to produce at least 232 Mega Watt (MW) was imported from Turkey.

Ashraf has denied all the corruption charges against him.

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