LAHORE – The accountability court in Lahore announced its verdict on a plea filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking to secure a 15-day physical remand of former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The NAb court judge Najam ul Hassan approved a 10-day physical remand for the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz president, directing that the former chief minister be handed over to NAB.
The National Accountability Bureau presented Shehbaz Sharif in accountability court on Saturday in a case related to Ashiana Housing scam wherein Amjad Pervez argued on behalf of Shehbaz Sharif.
At the onset of the hearing, the NAB officials argued that the former chief minister misused his authority and awarded the contract to Lahore Casa Developers unlawfully for the housing scheme.
The NAB officers argued that they need to investigate Shehbaz Sharif further as he inflicted a damage on the national exchequer.
‘All the allegations against me are baseless,’ Shehbaz pleaded in the court in his defence and added that the case was lodged on political grounds.
‘I personally intervened and saved billions in projects to serve the people’ argued Shehbaz Sharif.
The PML-N president affirmed that he did not mint even a single penny, highlighting that Rs 75 billion were saved in the Orange Line Metro Train Project (OLMT).
‘I am a Khadim [servant] of the masses but I was handed out this type of treatment for the services I rendered,’ lamented Sharif before the judge.
Amjad Pervaiz, the counsel for Shehbaz Sharif, pleaded that the firm Latif and Sons was blacklisted in a project.
After hearing the arguments from both the sides, the court reserved its verdict for a brief period of time.
The leader of the opposition, who was arrested by the anti-graft buster on Friday in the Rs14 billion Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case a day earlier, would be sent on remand for further interrogation.
شہباز شریف کاعدالت میں پیشی سے پہلے بناؤ سنوار مشکل صورت حال میں الجھی ہوئی زلفوں کی آرائش pic.twitter.com/S1LIGPAJzp
— Nadeem Raza (@nadeemraza5) October 6, 2018
Before producing the politician before the court, Shehbaz Sharif’s medical tests were performed in which he was declared fit.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader’s sons Hamza Shehbaz and Salman Shehbaz reached the court, while heavy contingent has been deployed around the court to prevent any untoward situation.
Scores of party workers and supporters are present outside the court while entry of unrelated persons and media coverage inside the court has been barred.
The younger Sharif was detained by the anti-graft body at the accountability body’s Lahore office following a hearing in Punjab Saaf Pani Company. A heavy contingent of Rangers was posted outside NAB office.
The arrest of former Punjab chief minister followed shocking revelations of ex-principal secretary to PM, Fawad Hasan Fawad, who has become an approver in the cases against Shehbaz Sharif.
Following Sharif’s arrest, his private security staff and white land cruiser were sent away by NAB officials.
A large number of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supporters reached the NAB office near Thokar Niaz Baig to protest what they say ‘political victimization’ of their leaders.
According to the standard procedures, the anti-corruption body has to take permission from the National Assembly speaker to arrest the leader of Opposition in the lower house of the Parliament.
The Bureau, in a statement, confirmed Sharif’s arrest and added that the PML-N president will be presented before an accountability court on Saturday (tomorrow).
Earlier, the Opposition leader in National Assembly had appeared before NAB on a couple of occasions in the Saaf Pani Company and Rs14 billion Ashiana Housing Scheme scams and recorded his statement. He is accused of violating the PPRA rules in the award of contracts in the Saaf Pani Company affairs.
NAB in November last had launched a thorough probe into the affairs of the 56 public-sector companies formed by Shahbaz administration in Punjab for their alleged involvement in corruption.