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Shehbaz Sharif remand extended for 14 days

17 October, 2018

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LAHORE: An accountability court on Tuesday extended the physical remand of former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif in the Ashiana Housing Scheme case by 14 days.

Shehbaz, who was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) earlier this month, was presented before the court after his previous 10-day physical remand ended on Tuesday. The NAB requested the accountability court for a 14-day extension in the remand. After hearing the arguments, the court reserved the decision. However, later in the day it accepted the bureau’s request and granted an extension.

Recording his statement in the court, Shehbaz claimed the case against him was made on political basis. Rejecting NAB’s claims that he caused huge losses to the national exchequer, the former chief minister said he saved billions of rupees through personal interventions. “I saved Rs 75 billion in Orange Line Train project alone. I sacrificed my sleep and health to work day and night in order to serve the nation. I have not done corruption worth a single penny,” he told the court. “I call NAB officers myself to question me,” he claimed.

“In 2008, when Kamran Kayani asked me to give him a contract, I complained about him to the then army chief,” Shehbaz said. “I was accused of granting the contract and pleasing General (r) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, although facts stated otherwise,” he said. “When NAB called me the first time, they said that I wanted to provide benefits to General (r) Kayani’s brother, to which I responded that had I wanted to do so why would I have forwarded the case to the anti-corruption unit,” he added.

“I verify NAB’s statement regarding issuing verbal orders. But, from my side, I saved money by issuing the contract and am grateful to God that I am known as ‘Punjab Speed’,” Shehbaz told the court. “I am kept for 24 hours in a cell where light does not even enter. I am a Pakistani and proud of it. But I am also a human … I have done a lot for this Punjab,” he lamented while concluding his statement.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president was transported to the court in a car with tinted windows. Shehbaz’s sons Hamza and Salman were also present in the accountability court. Strict security arrangements were in place on routes leading to the court premises with blockades installed at several places.

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