ISLAMABAD: Earlier this week, an accountability court rejected the PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal’s request to suppress the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) report against him as a former planning and development minister.
On February 22, the accountability court denied Mr Iqbal’s plea.
Narowal Sports City, a provincial government-funded project in the former minister’s seat, had its scope illegally increased from Rs34.75 million to Rs3 billion, according to the anti-graft body in a referral filed in November 2020.
The Central Development Working Party authorised the Rs34.74m project under Mr Iqbal’s leadership as the minister of planning. Because of government directions in 1999, the Pakistan Sports Board put it on the back burner, saying it lacked “necessary weight-age” in terms of economic need.
Two years after it was relaunched in 2009 with Rs732m in funding, they handed the project over to the Punjab government because of the 18th Constitutional Amendment.
In December 2019, NAB detained Mr Iqbal and held him for two months.
The NAB accused him of establishing a project in his Narowal seat while he was the PML-N government’s minister of planning and development, notwithstanding his declaration of innocence.
He was also accused of increasing the project’s price.
It is argued in the suit filed in the Islamabad High Court by the former minister that Article 164 of Pakistan’s Constitution allows for federal funding of provincial government projects.
After the federal government officially authorised the Narowal Sports City idea, he said it was put into action.
Mr Iqbal asked the high court to annul the reference against him, claiming that the NAB had filed it as part of the governing PTI’s strategy to victimise political opponents.