Court restrains NAB from arresting Amir Muqam without warrants

PESHAWAR: A division bench of Peshawar High Court on Wednesday restrained the apex anti-graft body from arresting the former advisor to Prime Minister and senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Amir Muqam in an alleged corruption case, involving an accumulation of ‘assets beyond means’.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Peshawar director general was directed to file comments explaining why they make arrests without prior warrants. This was directed by a division bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) comprising Justice Musarat Hilali and justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim on Wednesday.

The court further directed the NAB officials that no arrest will be made without the warrants which shall be issued ten days prior to the arrest. “The NAB has the practice of inviting people for inquiry and then arrest them without warrants,” Justice Hilali remarked.

Azeem Dad, the NAB prosecutor while arguing in the case reputed the allegations and said that no arrests have been made without warrants. Dad added that the anti-corruption watchdog is conducting an inquiry against Muqam in the case pertaining, the accumulation of assets beyond means and so far no arrest warrant has been issued.

The PML-N leader’s lawyer Barrister Mudasir Ameer stated before the court that the bureau had been carrying out an investigation against his client for allegedly amassing assets disproportionate to his sources of income. “NAB summons people for inquiry and arrests them without any warrants,” he added. He pleaded with the bench to bar NAB from arresting Amir Muqam without the issuance of arrest warrants.  The bench, after hearing the initial arguments ordered the NAB director general to submit a response at the next hearing of the case and barred NAB from arrests without warrants.

Earlier, on Jan 10, the PHC had restrained the NAB from arresting former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar without arrest warrants.

While talking to media outside the court, Amir Muqam said that whenever they NAB directs him he appeared as part of their probe. He said that everyone should be made accountable and if his fraud guilty of corruption, he is ready for strict punishment, under the law. The PMLN provincial head maintained that NAB has been given huge powers under which they can arrest anyone without proof. Muqam expressed that there is a need to amend the NAB law. “NAB is being used for political victimization,” alleged Amir Muqam. “NAB should probe the corruption in BRT project and bring all those responsible to justice.”