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Court to announce verdict on maintainability of reference against Agha Siraj on July 1

Court to announce verdict on maintainability of reference against Agha Siraj on July 1

KARACHI: An accountability court on Monday reserved its verdict on the maintainability of a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference against Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani.

The court on July 1 will rule on the maintainability of the reference against Durrani, which pertains to ownership of assets beyond known income.

Dr Sherbano Karim, an accountability court administrative judge, reserved the verdict after hearing arguments from Durrani’s counsel and a NAB prosecutor. Durrani, who is in jail, was also produced in court and then transported back to prison after the hearing.

The Sindh Assembly speaker’s counsel vehemently opposed the reference, arguing that it was filed without fulfilling legal requirements and completing mandatory legal procedures.

He said that the reference was filed on the basis of a complaint by Haji Nazeer Ahmed, and that no prior notice was issued to Durrani before his arrest, nor was a call-up notice issued as required under the National Accountability Ordinance 1999.

The counsel told the court that the reference was based on information provided by Google search results and anchorperson Dr Shahid Masood in his programme. He maintained that nothing concrete that could prove the allegations against Durrani is mentioned in the reference.

The NAB prosecutor in his counter-arguments said that the reference was based on credible evidence collected by the investigators during the course of inquiry and investigation.

He contended that a due call-up notice had been served on the detained lawmaker before he was arrested, and that he had also been asked to furnish details of his assets.

The prosecutor said that a complaint against the speaker was received in April this year, and after proper verification of allegations, the NAB chief had approved filing the reference against the speaker.

He pleaded to the court to accept the reference against Durrani and the others accused in the case. The defence counsel, however, pleaded with the court to reject the reference on grounds of lack of evidence and non-fulfilment of legal requirements.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the judge reserved her decision. The order will be announced on July 1.