PESHAWAR - An accountability court on Thursday indicted former federal minister for communications Arbab Alamgir Khan and his wife ex-MNA Asma Alamgir in a reference filed by NAB charging them of possessing assets beyond their known sources of income.

The accountability court judge Ishtiaq Ahmad framed the charge against Arbab Alamgir and Asma Alamgir, who belonged to Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and pleaded innocence stating all their assets were made through their known sources of income. The court after framing the charge summoned four witnesses for recording statements on January 24, next hearing in the case.

On December 19, 2018, the NAB KP had filed a reference in the accountability court against Arbab Alamgir, his spouse Asma Alamgir and others for accumulation of assets beyond their known sources of income.

It said the inquiry was authorised on November 4, 2015 by the competent authority and converted into investigation on January 12, 2018. The NAB had filed reference alleging the accused accumulated assets during 2008 to 2013.

The NAB said investigation showed that the accused have accumulated movable and immovable assets including House No 332, Sector G-11/3, Islamabad, 10-kanal land at Mauza Shah Alladitta, Islamabad, Bungalow No 2 F-7/2 Islamabad, prize bonds, Land Rover NX 111 and unjustified bank transactions.

About the foreign assets of the couple, the NAB noted that in order to requisition the relevant documents a Mutual Legal Assistance request as per law has been sent to the foreign authorities and response to it was awaited. A supplementary reference would be submitted upon the receipt of record, it added.

The PPP workers thronged the court's premises to support and show solidarity with their party's leaders and tried to enter the courtroom. However, the police managed to bring situation under control, when the couple arrived to appear in the accountability court.

Later, while talking to media persons after appearing in the court, Asma Alamgir, who had also been advisor to ex-premier Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani questioned the credibility of the NAB saying an unfounded case has been taken as a reference against them while LDA plot allotment case against Speaker Punjab Assembly has been dismissed.

She termed the NAB “a joke” and said a reference was filed against them but not against former KP chief minister Pervaiz Khattak.” She said: “we are being targeted for our dedication and services to people through baseless ‘Reference,”. He questioned the disparity of treatment by law for them and for Speaker Punjab Assembly and former KP CM Pervaiz Khattak.

Asma said that NAB should first make corrections in its record and file a reference after proper investigation besides following prescribed procedure adding relevant courts would be moved as reference against them does not fulfill the required criteria.

She said that NAB should stop following dual standards and follow rules and regulations in its operations. She said that each and every citizen would be treated equally by NAB irrespective of its affiliations.

“The PPP is not against accountability but we are actually against political victimisation in the name of accountability which is regrettable,” she said.