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Shahbaz Sharif granted remand till Nov 7

29 October, 2018

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An accountability court in Lahore on Monday granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) an extension in the physical remand of PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif in the Ashiyana Housing Scheme case.

The court extended Shahbaz's remand until Nov 7 while announcing its verdict on NAB's request for a 15-day physical remand of the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly.

This is the second extension given to NAB since Sharif was first remanded for 10 days on October 6. The court had earlier extended the remand by 14 days on Oct 16.

Sharif was produced before an accountability court in the morning for a hearing of the case amid tight security. NAB had requested the court to grant a 15-day physical remand of Sharif saying that the anti-corruption body had not yet completed its investigation.

NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua told the court that NAB has prepared a feasibility report that had strengthened its case.

However, Sharif — who presented his arguments himself — stated that it had been 25 days [since his arrest], yet NAB had been unable to present any proof against him.

Strict security measures were taken prior to Sharif's arrival in court. Containers were placed to block the road leading to the building and all routes to the court were blocked as well. Police contingents were deployed along the route and outside the court building. Police and Rangers officials were also posted inside the court building.

PML-N supporters, lawyers — apart from legal counsel of Sharif and NAB — and media personnel were refused entry in the courtroom, which led to verbal confrontation between lawyers, party workers and police.

Shahbaz Sharif is primarily accused of directing the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) to assign the Ashiyana project to the LDA, resulting in the award of contract to Lahore Casa Developers , causing a loss of Rs715 million and eventual failure of the project.

The former chief minister had also directed the PLDC to award consultancy services of the project to M/s Engineering Consultancy Services, Punjab, for Rs192 million, whereas the actual cost was Rs35m, as quoted by Nespak.

Fawad Hasan Fawad, a former principal secretary to the prime minister, and Ahad Khan Cheema, LDA’s ex-director general, have already been arrested in the Ashiyana case and are in jail on judicial custody.

The bureau has recently launched another investigation against Shahbaz Sharif to look for his “illegal” assets. NAB initiated this inquiry on reports that Shahbaz possesses assets beyond his known sources of income.

During interrogation earlier, Shahbaz Sharif said his son Salman looked after the family business.

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