LAHORE: An accountability court on Thursday ordered that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif, who has been arrested in connection to the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case, be sent to jail.
Shehbaz, who has been in National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody since October 5 in connection to the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case, was presented before an accountability court in Lahore as his physical remand ended today.
As the hearing went under way, NAB sought an extension in Shehbaz’s remand. However, the NAB prosecutor failed to provide satisfactory answers after which the court rejected the accountability watchdog’s request for a further extension in Shehbaz’s remand and ordered that he be sent to jail.
Earlier, a large number of PML-N workers had gathered outside the court premises and tried to remove the barriers at which the police baton charged them.
A PML-N worker was also injured during the baton charge and some involved in creating chaos outside the court premises were also taken into custody.
Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan had said, “There are 150 to 200 workers outside the court who came today in the mood for aggression. You can see that they tried to fight with the police first and the personnel cannot allow anyone to take the law in their own hands.”
“This violence was pre-planned and everything will be calm within 30 minutes,” he had added.
NAB accused Shehbaz of misusing his powers while being the chief minister of Punjab in an inquiry pertaining to Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC).
The inquiry conducted so far reveals sufficient evidence to prove the involvement of former chief minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif “in the commission of offences as defined under section 9(a) and Schedule of the National Accountability Bureau 1999.
The inquiry conducted states that Shehbaz Sharif as the chief minister of Punjab had unlawfully assumed powers of Board of Directors of Punjab Land and Development Company (PLDC), misused his authority and acted in connivance with Fawad Hassan Fawad who at the time was Secretary Implementation to CM Punjab and others. Contracts awarded to M/s Ch. A Latif and sons for the development and infrastructure of Ashiana Iqbal Housing Project were illegally cancelled.
As the chief minister, Shehbaz Sharif in a meeting on October 21, 2014 unlawfully directed PLDC to entrust the project of Ashiana Iqbal Punjab to LDA. This decision of Sharif was illegal and mala fide as PLDC was the company which was established for undertaking such housing projects. Shehbaz is accused of illegally transferring this project to LDA, which was headed by his close aide Ahad Khan Cheema.
Shehbaz is also accused of working in connivance with other accused in the case and directed LDA to undertake Ashiana Iqbal Project under Public Private Partnership mode. NAB states this was done in order to give “unlawful benefit to blue-eyed firm namely M/s Bismillah Engineering Service Company, which was a proxy firm to M/s Paragon City.”-Web Desk