NAB arrests Speaker Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Karachi on Wednesday arrested Speaker Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani from a hotel in Islamabad, DawnNewsTV reported citing officials from within the bureau.

According to NAB officials, Durrani faces an inquiry for accumulating assets beyond his known sources of income as well as allegations that he had embezzled public funds.

NAB officials told DawnNewsTV that the bureau waited for Durrani to leave Sindh before making the arrest as Durrani is escorted by his sizable security team in his home province and the bureau feared a confrontation would turn violent.

The officials further said that the reason NAB arrests personnel who hold important offices is because they otherwise use their position to influence government officers.

The corruption watchdog’s Karachi chapter collaborated with NAB Rawalpindi and the intelligence wing of NAB headquarters to ensure Durrani’s arrest.

NAB was to produce the detained Sindh Assembly speaker in court tomorrow (Thursday) to secure his remand, according to a press release.

However, later in the day, it approached an accountability court in Islamabad to seek seven-day transit remand. Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir granted the bureau three-day transit instead, with instructions to to produce him in the relevant court in Karachi within three days.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari slammed the arrest, saying that his party would not allow the “benaami wazeer-e-azam” to establish a beywardi aamriat (dictatorship).

“Attack on [the] speaker of [a] federating unit is unacceptable. [An] undemocratic attempt to dislodge Sindh govt. Failed before will fail again. Independent institutions shouldnt unwittingly be part of political engineering,” he said on Twitter.

PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari held a press conference at 3pm, and had asked his fellow PPP leaders to converge in the capital.

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