Shahbaz Sharif arrested by NAB Lahore in Ashiana Housing scam case
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2018-10-05 13:41:42

Shahbaz Sharif arrested by NAB Lahore in Ashiana Housing scam case

Former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif  today was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at its Lahore office in the Rs14 billion Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case.

The Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly has been accused of corruption in the Ashiana Housing case. He will be produced before an accountability court for remand tomorrow.

“The National Accountability Bureau Lahore has arrested former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif in the Ashiana company case,” a press release issued by NAB Islamabad said, adding that the bureau will present him before an accountability court in Lahore on Saturday.

He will be kept in a highly-secured lock-up inside the NAB Lahore office until his appearance in court.

The PML-N president will be presented before Admin Judge Syed Najmul Hassan amidst tight security. NAB will request the court for Shahbaz’s 14-day physical remand, NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua told DawnNewsTV.

Lawyer Amjad Pervez will represent Shahbaz before the court.

Shahbaz was detained by NAB officials after he appeared before the bureau in the Saaf Pani Company scam case and his car was sent away. His private staff who accompanied him as security were also sent away.

A heavy contingent of Rangers has been posted outside NAB Lahore, DawnNewsTV reported.

Supporters of the PML-N have started gathering outside the bureau’s office. The arrest comes a little over a week ahead of the by-polls scheduled for October 14.

Naeemul Haq, a leader of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), said he was not aware of the facts regarding the former Punjab chief minister’s reported arrest.

“I don’t have the facts yet to be able to provide a response to this. All I can say is that all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law,” he said while speaking to DawnNewsTV.

Arrest ‘against the law’: PML-N
Reacting to Shahbaz’s arrest, the PML-N claimed that arresting the opposition leader without seeking the permission of the NA speaker was “against the law”.

A meeting of the PML-N parliamentary party condemned the arrest, saying: “The unfortunate precedent of using NAB against political opponents is being revived again.”

According to information provided to Dawn.com by the ex-chief minister’s office, the party said Shahbaz had devoted his life for the progress and prosperity of the nation and his arrest before the by-elections “proves how much the government is threatened by the PML-N”.

“These tactics are not new for the PML-N,” the party said, adding that the practice of making an example out of “public servants” for just being political opponents has brought harm to the country in the past as well.

The PML-N is reviewing the entire situation and will announce the future course of action after consultation between the leaders, the party said.

Shahbaz’s blue-eyed officers, Lahore Development Authority former director general Ahad Cheema and Fawad Hasan Fawad, are already in NAB custody in the Ashiana Housing case.

Fawad Hasan Fawad, former principal secretary to ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, in his statement before NAB in August had claimed that he had awarded a contract to a “favourite firm” in the Ashiana Housing project on Shahbaz’s behest. A source at the time said that Fawad had also provided “incriminating evidence” against the ex-chief minister in the corruption case, making it difficult for him (Sharif) to defend himself before a combined investigation team of the NAB Lahore.

Shahbaz is also an accused in the Saaf Pani Company scam case. The NAB’s Lahore office had re-summoned him in that case today.

He has previously appeared before NAB on a couple of occasions in both the cases and recorded his statement. He is accused of violating the Punjab Procurement Regularity Authority (PPRA) rules in the award of contracts in the Saaf Pani Company affairs.

In November 2017, NAB 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.

Dawn.com

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