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NAB granted 10-day physical remand of Shehbaz Sharif in Ashiana Housing case.

LAHORE -- An accountability court on Saturday granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) a 10-day physical remand of former Punjab Chief Minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case.

Shehbaz was taken to NAB office in Thokar Niaz Baig after being remanded in the accountability bureau's custody.

Earlier, the court had reserved its judgment on NAB's plea to send the PML-N president on a 15-day physical remand.

The leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, who was arrested by NAB on Friday in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case, was produced before accountability court Judge Najmul Hasan.

The former Punjab chief minister was represented by Azam Nazeer Tarar and Amjad Pervez.

As Judge Najmul Hasan arrived in the courtroom, several PML-N workers were present owing to which he summoned Shehbaz, his lawyers and the NAB prosecutor in his chambers. The entry of unrelated persons and media coverage had been barred inside the accountability court.

When Judge Hasan began hearing the case in his chambers, the NAB prosecutor requested that Shehbaz be sent on a 15-day physical remand.

"Shehbaz cancelled the contract awarded to M/s Ch A Latif and Sons for infrastructure development of Ashiana Iqbal Housing Project and awarded it to CASA Developers," the NAB prosecutor upheld.

"The former Punjab chief minister misused his powers and his actions caused a huge loss to the national exchequer," the NAB prosecutor told the accountability court judge. "Shehbaz needs to be further investigated in the case and should be sent on a 15-day physical remand," he added.

However, Shehbaz denied the allegations as "false and baseless" and his counsels opposed the NAB prosecutor's request to send him on a physical remand.

The leader of the opposition in NA then requested that the hearing not be held in the chambers following which Judge Hasan resumed it in the open court.

Shehbaz told the court that the case against him "was made on political basis".

"I saved billions through intervention in a personal capacity," he said while rejecting NAB claims that he cause a huge loss to the national exchequer. "I saved Rs75 billion in Orange Line Train project."

"I sacrificed my sleep and health to work day and night in order to serve the nation," the former Punjab chief minister further said.

The PML-N president asserted, "I have not done corruption worth a single penny."

After hearing the arguments, the court reserved its judgment on NAB's plea for Shehbaz's 15-day physical remand. The court then granted NAB a 10-day physical remand of the leader of the opposition in NA.

Shehbaz will be produced before the accountability court again on October 16 (Tuesday).

Shehbaz was brought to the accountability court in an armoured vehicle that was escorted by a fire brigade, an ambulance and police mobiles.

The PML-N president's sons, Hamza and Salman Shehbaz, were the only ones who were allowed entry inside the court premises during the hearing. PML-N leaders Marriyum Aurangzeb, Khurram Dastgir and Saira Afzal Tarrar were not granted entry.

Several PML-N workers had gathered outside the accountability court and chanted slogans in favour of the party president. On Shehbaz's arrival, the workers climbed up on one of the armoured vehicles. There were two armoured vehicles - one which entered the court from the back door and the other from the front door.

A few PML-N workers also managed to enter the accountability court despite being barred entry as they were sitting atop the armoured vehicle. A worker was also injured as he fell from atop the vehicle and was shifted to the hospital.

Contingents of police, including anti-riot force, had been deployed around the accountability court and roads leading to it had also been blocked.

According to NAB sources, a medical examination of Shehbaz was conducted before he was brought to the accountability court and he was declared fit.
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Publication:Regional Times (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Oct 7, 2018
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