Pakistan ex-PM Charged with Corruption in LNG Deal
Ex-prime minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was arrested by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) July 18. He was charged on a multi-billion-rupee case, related to the award of a Qatri LNG import contract.
Abbasi, who is a senior member of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), succeeded Nawaz Sharif when the latter was dismissed by the supreme court in 2017 and sentenced to seven years in prison late last year for corruption.
One of Sharif's alleged crimes was his misuse of authority in awarding the contract for an LNG terminal to 15 companies in a non-transparent manner.
PML-N confirmed the arrest of Abbasi and called it a “politically motivated” action by rival party Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) (Pakistan Movement for Justice).
NAB said Abbasi was charged on involvement in a corruption scandal in Qatari LNG import deals during 2013 to 2017 when he was the petroleum minister.
Pakistan State Oil and Qatargas signed in 2016 a 15-year sale and purchase agreement for 3.76mn mt/yr at a price of 13.36% of Brent oil.
Pakistan imported 9.4bn m3 (6.9mn mt) of LNG in 2018, of which more than three-fifths came from Qatar, according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
The NAB also signed July 18 the warrants for the arrest of another PML-N leader, Miftah Ismail, and of a former managing director of Pakistan State Oil, Sheikh Imranul Haque.
The judge who found Sharif guilty was himself dismissed July 12 on blackmail charges, leading to calls for Sharif's release, report local media.