Saturday Oct 23 2021

'It was a test': PPP's Khursheed Shah released from jail after 25 months

PPP stalwart Khursheed Shah can be seen wearing a traditional cap. — Twitter/FidaShaikhPPP
PPP stalwart Khursheed Shah can be seen wearing a traditional cap. — Twitter/FidaShaikhPPP

  • PPP's Khursheed Shah was arrested in an assets beyond means case.
  • NAB had arrested him on September 18, 2019.
  • Supreme Court had accepted Shah's bail plea two days back.

SUKKUR: PPP stalwart Khursheed Shah was released from jail on Saturday after being incarcerated for 25 months in an assets beyond means case, after which he termed the period as a test for him.

The former Opposition leader in the National Assembly was released after an accountability court verified the Supreme Court's order for his bail — which was issued two days back.

Shah's son had submitted bail bonds worth Rs10 million at the accountability court as surety against his father's bail. Following his release from Sukkur Central Jail, the PPP workers accorded a warm welcome to the leader.

Shah was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) Sukkur chapter on September 18, 2019.

Back in July 2021, the Sindh High Court had dismissed a petition seeking Shah's request for bail.

Although the apex court approved Shah's bail, it asked the anti-corruption watchdog to continue probing the case.

Addressing party workers after reaching his residence, Shah said he was behind bars for two years, and it was a test for him. But despite incarcerating me, they could not prove anything, he added.

"I was thrown behind bars due to my love for the people," he said, adding that he had no reservations against anyone for sending him to jail.

"Conspiracies were hatched against me [...] attempts were made to portray me as separate from PPP," he added.

Why was he arrested?

The top anti-corruption watchdog had arrested Shah, who according to them, acquired assets worth some Rs700 million on the names of his frontmen through ill-gotten money.

NAB's top officials probing the matter claimed to have acquired several important records/files from the Sukkur district administration, where revenue officers shared important details, which ultimately led to Shah's arrest from Islamabad.

“We have acquired details of all assets and property of Mr Shah, his family’s names and his frontmen," a senior NAB official had said. The NAB official had claimed that the Sukkur NAB team got access to documents, which revealed that Shah through his friend acquired New Taj Hotel, Shikarpur road Sukkur, worth Rs250 million.

A petrol pump worth some Rs90 million at Rohri Road in the name of Qasim Shah (benamidar/frontman), was also acquired, another NAB official claimed.

A bungalow in the name of Pappu Mahar (benamidar/frontman) on government land was also allegedly built by Shah through kickbacks, revealed a senior NAB official.

Furthermore, a hotel named Gulf Hotel was also allegedly constructed by the PPP stalwart in Rohri in the name of a benamidar/frontman where money was arranged through kickbacks by the local contractors, the official added on condition of anonymity.

NAB officials further claimed that Shah, as MNA, also misused his authority, and got huge contracts for his partners and agents including M/s Umar Jan and Com, Nawab and Com, etc., in interior Sindh, where millions of rupees were embezzled.

NAB is also probing Khursheed’s properties, which are located in Sukkur, Rohri and Karachi, NAB officials revealed. Mukesh Flour Mills, Glamour Bungalow, Junejo Flour Mills and 83 other properties are registered against the names of Shah’s alleged frontman, Pehlaj Rai, they further revealed.

Officials further claimed that some 11 properties were registered in the name of another frontman, Lado Mall, and 10 properties are registered in the name of Hussain Soomro. Officials added that more high profiles arrests are also expected in Sindh. These arrests would link to this case, they said.