Former Pakistan prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and eight others on Tuesday were indicted by a court in a case pertaining to illegal recruitment in an electricity distribution company of Punjab Province.
Ashraf, 66, recruited as many as 437 people without taking merit into consideration, according to a case filed by top anti-graft watchdog the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Geo News reported. The former prime minister, who held the office between June 2012 and March 2013, has rejected all the charges filed by NAB on Tuesday.
Ashraf was indicted for his alleged involvement in illegal recruitment in the Gujranwala Electric Power Company (GEPCO), the report said. The accountability court in Lahore, which heard the case filed by the NAB last year, summoned witnesses to record their statements. The court adjourned the hearing till October 10.
Ashraf, a senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader, has also been indicted by another accountability court in Islamabad in the rental power case. All accused have refused to plead guilty. The former premier denied all the corruption charges against him, saying the NAB’s action was a result of “political victimisation” at the behest of the ruling PML-N party. “Being the minister for water and power, I never influenced the appointments. The NAB has been playing at the hands of PML-N leadership and subjecting PPP leaders to political victimisation,” he alleged.
Ashraf said that he was being dragged into the scandal on baseless grounds and also questioned the decision of placing his name on the Exit Control List (ECL) when former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name was not in it. He is also accused of misusing his authority during his tenure as the minister for water and power to get approval from the Economic Coordination Committee for an increase in the down-payment to the rental power companies from seven per cent to 14 per cent, amounting to about Rs 22 billion, the report said.