IHC orders Fawad Chaudhry's release in NAB case

Awais Yousafzai
Police officials escort former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry to present him before a court in Lahore on January 25, 2023. — AFP
Police officials escort former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry to present him before a court in Lahore on January 25, 2023. — AFP

The Islamabad High Court Monday granted bail to former information minister Fawad Chaudhary in the case of misappropriation in construction projects in Jhelum.

The court, approving the politician's bail, issued the orders during the hearing of the case in which Chaudhry was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in December last year.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri granted bail to the politician who remains imprisoned in Adiala Jail on judicial remand in the said case.

His lawyer, Advocate Qaiser Imam, appeared in the court on his behalf.

During the hearing of Chaudhry’s plea, the NAB prosecutor said: “We have a witness who says that Fawad Chaudhary took a bribe of Rs500,000.”

The IHC chief justice asked him how does Rs500,000 come under the jurisdiction of NAB.

The prosecutor responded saying that the case is still at an inquiry stage and NAB is getting more details.

“I have written to all relevant institutions including the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC),” the prosecutor.

The chief justice questioned that NAB first arrested the man and later sought evidence.

“What is the main evidence against Fawad Chaudhary with NAB?” CJ Aamer Farooq asked.

The IHC chief justice got upset after the NAB prosecutor referred to the Supreme Court’s verdict.

“Leave the Supreme Court, mention the evidence first,” he remarked.

NAB had taken Fawad into custody in aforementioned corruption case on December 16. The anti-graft body's Chairman Lt-Gen (retd) Nazir Ahmed Butt had signed an arrest warrant for Fawad after which he was taken into custody from Adiala jail — where he was incarcerated in the fraud case.

Fawad embroiled in multiple cases

The politician has been behind bars since November 4 last year after he was arrested from his Islamabad residence following a complaint filed against him in Islamabad's Aabpara Police Station for taking a Rs5 million bribe in exchange for a job.

In January, too, Fawad was taken into custody from his residence after he publicly "threatened" the members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in a media talk outside former PTI chief Imran Khan's residence in Zaman Park. However, the then-coalition government said it had no hand in the politician's arrest.

The politician, in June this year, issued an apology to the electoral watchdog for allegedly using “intemperate” language targeting the ECP and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja.

Fawad was also among the thousands of party workers and leaders who were arrested during the crackdown on the PTI since May 9 for the party’s alleged involvement in the riots that claimed at least eight lives and injured dozens of others.

In June, the former minister was among the PTI leaders who were present during the launching ceremony of the Istihkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP), which is headed by Khan's close political aide Jahangir Tareen.