Raja Pervaiz Ashraf‘s acquittal –corruption allegations and media trial

Accountability court acquitted former prime minister in Piran Ghaib rental power reference

An Accountability Court (AC) in Islamabad acquitted former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in the Piranghaib rental power reference today, June 30. AC-I Judge Muhammad Bashir also acquitted seven other accused in this case.
The reference against the 192-megawatt rental power plant, set up in Piran Ghaib area of ​​Multan, was filed by NAB Rawalpindi in 2014. In its short order, the court had noted that NAB could not prove any corruption charges against Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and the other accused and as the country did not suffer any loss, the acquittal pleas were accepted.
The former PM and senior PPP leader was also acquitted in the Sahiwal rental power case last week by Judge Mohammad Bashir. The verdict was announced on June 25 but was reserved at a previous hearing. So he has been acquitted in two NAB references within one week.
What all those who launched vicious propaganda campaign against Raja Pervaiz Ashraf even before the reference was filed will say after his acquittal in two rental power project references. Will they all apologise to Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for damaging his reputation? Raja Pervaiz Ashraf owes an apology from all those who runs media campaigns against him. 

In Pakistan, we have a weak defamation laws which takes years to decide such cases. The politicians, journalists and analysts with ill intentions bring out false and fabricated allegations and scandals against certain politicians to destroy their credulity and reputation.
NAB also played its role in this vicious propaganda campaigns. NAB leaks selected information to its favourite journalists to launch vicious propaganda campaign. It normally takes 3 to 4 years to decide a reference in the Accountability Court. But through media campaign and propaganda, accused in the inquiry or a NAB reference declared convicted. Such allegations are repeated so regularly that general public started to believe that corruption was done and certain person is corrupt to its core.
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf faced the allegations, media trial and witch hunt for years. He was derogatory called Raja rental. The media continued to make the same allegations again and again without any conviction from any court of law.
NAB and media are doing it for years. The media trials before the convictions must be stopped. Every person is innocent before proven guilty. But in NAB cases it has been other way round. It seems that NAB spends more time on media trials than the actual trials in the courts.
Many PPP leaders went through this character assassination campaigns over the years. How one could be declared corrupt before the proper trial and conviction.
In 2009, the last PPP government had awarded contracts to nine RPPs to provide electricity to the country as a stopgap arrangement. These RPPs comprised both local and international firms, including the Karkey, Karadeniz, and Elektrik Uretin of Turkey.
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was the federal minister for water and power at the time of the signing of the agreement. Ashraf was later elected as the prime minister in June 2012 after disqualification of his predecessor Yousaf Raza Gillani.

In March 2012, however, the Supreme Court described the RPP contracts as non-transparent and declared them null and void after Faisal Saleh Hayat, who then belonged to the PML-Q and Khawaja Asif of the PML-N moved the court.

In January 2013, the court ordered NAB to proceed with corruption references against those who were at the helm of affairs when the contracts were signed.

The first NAB reference filed in May 2013 did not include Ashraf’s name. NAB filed a reference against the former PM in 2019 after Sahiwal-Multan project manager Rana Amjad became an approver.

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