Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was already under the NAB radar for the LNG deal before his case was closed in Karachi, not because an enquiry had been completed and he had been exonerated but because it would damage relations with a friendly Islamic country.That is why he bravely declared, just recently that he was ready to face any number of references. What would hurt our relations with Qatar if the LNG reference was reopened has not been explained.In 2016 Mr Abbasi had loudly and clearly stated that the deal was secret and would remain so. The PM, then the Petroleum minister, was accused of signing a bad deal, which as per the contract, had to be kept under the wraps and never to be disclosed.It, among others things, binds Pakistan to pay Qatar over $270,000 per day, as some kind of a shipping charge/penalty. The deal is for 16 years. The numbers get mind boggling.Most probably the contract contains clauses and heavy penalties if it was disclosed. That could possibly hurt Pakistan, not Qatar, in the short run but no one knows if an escape or exit clause was put in. If not, why not?Given the recent regional and strategic policy shifts in the Arab world which directly affect Pakistan, and following the failed Qatari attempt to bail out Nawaz Sharif from a corruption trial, it may not be that difficult now to open up the LNG deal and let the nation know what has been so tightly guarded.The problem is that while Nawaz Sharif was reluctant to open up the matter, as it was under his watch, PM Abbasi may protect it ever harder as he was the one who signed it. Now that he has become the PM, unfortunately the microscopes have shifted from Sharif to Abbasi labs. Some zealots have even moved the Supreme Court and others are demanding reopening of the closed NAB reference.This new focus would ensure that Qatar remains in our national discourse, one way or the other.But, PM Abbasi, who had maintained his image by keeping a low profile in the cabinet, now cannot hide behind innocent promises or secret deals.There are suggestions, which sooner than later will come out in the open, to look into the affairs of PIA and what transpired when Mr Abbasi was its chief. The birth of Abbasi’s Air Blue will be revisited to determine who gave the two aircraft and on what terms and whether it was at the cost of the national airline.It may not be fair to dig out the past of Mr Abbasi’s father, who was a PAF officer posted at Karachi during the 1965 war and later in Jordan. Both his assignments did not end in meritorious mentions. His untimely death in the Ojheri Camp disaster buried his past for good but gave us a new leader who is now chief executive of the country.So far Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s name has not appeared in any list of ‘Iqama’ holding ministers of the previous cabinet. But at least four have and they were key guys, Nawaz Sharif himself, Ishaq Dar, Khawaja M Asif and Ahsan Iqbal.Given the recent regional and strategic policy shifts in the Arab world which directly affect Pakistan, and following the failed Qatari attempt to bail out Nawaz Sharif from a corruption trial, it may not be that difficult now to open up the LNG deal and let the nation know what has been so tightly guardedProbably none of them was getting any monetary benefit from these resident visas but the visas were retained for years. Nawaz Sharif gave the simplest of the explanations: “I used it for ease in travel.” As if he would not be allowed entry into a country if he was a Pakistani resident alone.A foreign western banker friend, when asked, put a larger and a much more palatable context to this Iqama craze. He sent this note:“Getting a UAE Iqama is cheaper and easier as UAE has no residency requirements except that one visit is mandatory in six months to maintain the Iqama.“But more importantly rich Pakistanis use it for registering themselves with Swiss/foreign banks so that they can show themselves as tax residents in the UAE. Account holders are reported by banks on the basis of residency rather than nationality.“If an Iqama holder, a Pakistani or any other nationality, has an account with either a Swiss or any other foreign bank then he enjoys automatic immunity from reporting.“As an example if Pakistan and Switzerland were to enter into an exchange of information agreement, then those Pakistanis who are account holders in Switzerland but have a UAE Iqama, registered with the bank as their place of residence, will not be reported. They will remain out of the Pakistan probe radar as far as the bank account is concerned.“If Pakistan officially writes to a particular bank to disclose the names of Pakistanis who have accounts with the bank then the bank will not disclose their name as in their records they are technically residents of UAE.”If this explanation suits some in Pakistan, welcome to the club. The writer is a senior journalist Published in Daily Times, August 4th 2017.