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Accountability court reserved verdict on Rafique brothers case

15 October, 2019

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An accountability court on Monday reserved verdict on the acquittal pleas of former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and ex-Punjab health minister Khawaja Salman Rafique till October 16 in Paragon Housing Society reference. During the proceedings, the court directed the authroties to present the accused in next hearing.

On September 3, the accountability court had indicted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique in the Paragon Housing Society case. The Khawaja brothers have been accused of embezzling nearly Rs 2 billion.

In all previous hearings, their defence counsel had repeatedly maintained before the court that the details of banking transactions of the last ten years had been handed over to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

On April 26, the NAB Lahore had approved filing of a reference against the Khawaja brothers and Nadeem Zia for the alleged corruption.

Qaiser Amin Butt, the director of Paragon Housing Society, was also included in the inquiry initiated by the NAB, and he was also arrested in November last year. Later, he agreed to turn approver against the Khawaja brothers and Zia.

Butt and Zia established a company “Air Avenue” in the year 2003; however the name was later changed to Paragon City private (Pvt) Limited.

On December 11, 2018, Khawaja brothers were detained by the accountability watchdog after the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected their bail plea.

The NAB had launched an investigation into the alleged scam in November last year after a number of victims staged protests and held a press conference at the Lahore Press Club against what they termed the housing society’s fraud.

Meanwhile, another accountability court on Monday reserved the verdict over the plea submitted by the former president Asif Ali Zardari seeking facilities of air conditioner and fridge in the jail cell. AC judge Muhammad Bashir heard the case.

The former president’s lawyer Latif Khosa told the court that the medical report had suggested providing the AC and fridge facility to his client while the report also suggested to shift him to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) due to increase in heart pain.

Zardari’s lawyer told the court that Asif Ali Zardari is in health risk but he will not say forgiveness as he had even never sought apology from Ziaul Haq but he is only getting his legal and judicial right.

Khosa has also sought permission for personal attendance to Zardari in jail, however, the court asked how can a private person be allowed to live in jail. On which Khosa told the court that he will stay outside the camp, later court adjourned the hearing reserving the verdict.

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