Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was released on parole by an accountability court in Islamabad on Monday so that he could attend his paternal uncle’s funeral. The decision came on a plea submitted by Khaqan’s counsel seeking temporary release to attend the funeral in Deval Shari, Murree tehsil at 5pm. His counsel also sought security from the district administrations of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Currently, under National Accountability Bureau (NAB) custody, the former premier is being investigated for allegedly awarding a 15-year contract for a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal to a Qatari company in violation of rules and of causing losses to the national exchequer during his tenure as the petroleum minister in the cabinet of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.The case, closed by the anti-graft watchdog in 2016, was reopened in 2018. On September 12, accountability judge Muhammad Bashir noted that the former prime minister had been in NAB custody for 56 days and gave a ‘final’ extension in remand. Khaqan, on the other hand, requested the court to grant a 90-day extension in the remand “to satisfy NAB”. The court summoned the suspects in the next hearing on September 26.Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Pakistan saved more than $600 million “over the first 10 years of a natural gas supply deal by pitting some of the world’s biggest sellers against each other”. Citing a report submitted to a senate committee by Pakistan State Oil (PSO), Bloomberg revealed how the “2016 deal came together with Qatar, the world’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas”. “It also sheds a rare light on such high-stakes energy deals, which are almost exclusively settled behind closed doors and stay hidden from public scrutiny,” it added. “Reducing the contract’s price from to 13.37 percent from 13.9 percent will save Pakistan $610 million over 10 years at an average Brent price of $60 a barrel,” Bloomberg quotes the PSO report.