ISLAMABAD   -    The Islamabad High Court Thursday granted interim pre-arrest bail to former finance minister and Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) leader Miftah Ismail in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) case.

A division bench of IHC comprising Acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted hearing of the pre-arrest bail moved by Miftah Ismail and granted him interim pre-arrest bail against surety bonds worth Rs0.5 million till August 1.

In his petition, the former finance minister prayed to the court to halt the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting him until the investigation is completed. The former minister argued that the bureau has levelled allegations against him when there is ‘not even an iota of any evidence’ of wrongdoing in the award of contract related to the LNG.

The petitioner cited Federation through Secretary Law, Chairman NAB and the investigation officer as respondents in his petition.

The PML-N leader has already been granted pre-arrest bail by the Sindh High Court (SHC). His pre-arrest bail given by SHC will end this week. Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is already on NAB’s custody in the LNG import contract case.

His application was submitted a day before the end of the seven-day protective bail he secured from the Sindh High Court last week.

He stated in the plea that that the anti-graft body should be barred from arresting him until it completes the investigation and files a reference. He rejected NAB’s allegations against him and other co-accused, asserting that there is “not even an iota of any evidence of wrongdoing in the award or any other ancillary matter related to the LNG contract/tender”.

“There is no prima facie case against the petitioner and no reasonable grounds for believing that the petitioner has committed any offence whatsoever, be it NAB or any other law for the time being in force. At the least, this is a case for further inquiry and hence the petitioner is entitled to bail in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case,” said the petition.

Therefore, he requested the court to restrain the NAB from arresting the petitioner till the conclusion of investigation or the reference. He also prayed to the court to grant pre-arrest bail in the interest of the justice.

Meanwhile, a single bench of IHC comprising acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq granted six-day pre-arrest bail to Nasir Janjua, a main character of video-gate scandal for blackmailing former Accountability Court judge Arshad Malik.

The IHC bench accepted the interim bail of Janjua against surety bonds worth of Rs 2,00,000. The petitioner stated in his plea that allegations against him regarding the video-gate scandal were baseless. Therefore, he prayed to the court to grant him pre-arrest bail.

The court accepted the request and also served notices of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to seek reply in this matter.