Ashiana Housing scam: Shehbaz Sharif handed over to NAB on 10-day physical remand

Dunya News

Justice Najam-ul-Hassan heard the case.

LAHORE (Dunya News) – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly (NA) Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday has been handed over to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on a 10-day physical remand to probe Ashiana Housing scandal.

Shehbaz Sharif, who was arrested by NAB on October 5, was produced before the accountability court amid stringent security arrangements in view of PML-N workers  convergence outside court premises.

Accountability court judge Justice Najam-ul-Hassan heard the case.

During the proceedings, NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua pleaded that Shehbaz Sharif inflicted millions of rupees loss on national exchequer by canceling scheme’s contract with Latif Sons and awarding it to CASA Developers.

Meanwhile, the ex-Chief Minister of Punjab (CM) Shehbaz Sharif denied all the charges against him and asserted that he is not involved in a corruption of a single penny.

While defending himself, he said that the case was instituted against him on political grounds whereas all those caught red handed in corruption have been released.

The NAB prosecutor requested the court for a 15-day physical custody of Shehbaz Sharif which was contended by defence lawyer Amjad Pervaiz.

Hearing both the sides, the court briefly reserved its verdict and announced it granting NAB 10-day physical remand of PML-N president.

Watch: NAB prosecutor talks about allegations against Shehbaz Sharif

Only Shehbaz’s sons, Hamza and Salman were allowed entry in the courtroom among others. During the course of proceedings, PML-N leaders including Marriyum Aurangzeb, Khurram Dastgir and Saira Afzal Tarrar, were present outside the court leading the party protesters.

It merits mentioning here that the hearing was at first conducted inside the judge’s chamber for a brief time, later shifted to courtroom due to the protest of the lawyers.

PML-N workers protest

Large number of PML-N leaders and workers staged protest against NAB on the occasion of Shehbaz Sharif’s arrival at accountability court.

The agitated protesters chanted anti-NAB slogans and mistaken about Shehbaz’s presence inside, climbed the roof of armoured van.

Security arrangements

Stringent security arrangements were in place for the former Punjab chief minister’s appearance before the court.

Shehbaz Sharif was brought to the accountability court in an armoured vehicle followed by a fire tender, an ambulance and police mobiles.

All routes leading to the accountability court were sealed. Police sources said that four SPs, 10 DSPs, 20 SHOs and at least 600 Anti Riot Force personnel performed duties to challenge any untoward incident.

Shehbaz Sharif’s arrest

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam on Oct 5. The former chief minister was charged with awarding illegal contracts to his favorite firm.

Shehbaz was apprehended during his appearance before NAB in Saaf Pani Company scam. Sources told that three files were tabled before him.

The Bureau quizzed Sharif regarding a tender awarded to a private consultancy company for a survey of the Saaf Pani company.

The PML-N president had failed to satisfy the probing team of the bureau during the investigation and was ultimately arrested.

The anti-graft watchdog has claimed that the company did not conduct any kind of survey but nevertheless was provided a lucrative sum of Rs 1.5 billion.

Sources said that ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s principal secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad became an approver in the case.

Fawad Hassan Fawad, in his statement before NAB had claimed that he had awarded a contract to a “favourite firm” in the Rs14 billion Ashiana Housing project at the behest of Shahbaz Sharif.

The anti-graft agency said that the contract for the housing scheme was won by a construction company titled Chaudhry Latif and Sons but Sharif cancelled it and later on awarded the contract to Lahore Casa Developers – a proxy group of Paragon City (Pvt) Limited, which is said to be owned by ex-Railways Minister Saad Rafique”.