Court grants NAB 14-day extension in Shehbaz Sharif's remand

LAHORE: An accountability court granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) a 14-day extension in the physical remand of former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif in the Ashiana Housing Scheme case.

The court had earlier reserved its decision on NAB’s request for a 14-day extension in the PML-N president’s remand. However, the court later accepted the accountability bureau’s request and granted an extension.

Earlier today, NAB presented Shehbaz before the court in Lahore as his 10-day remand in the housing scheme case ended today.

Strict security arrangements were in place on routes leading to the court premises with blockades installed in several places as Shehbaz was presented in court resulting in severe inconvenience for citizens commuting to office and schools.

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 for the hearing.

Speaking to the journalists outside the accountability court, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Shehbaz had worked day and night for the development of Punjab.
“The number of security personnel deployed here [outside the court] is indicative of their fear,” she said.

On October 6, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested the PML-N president in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case and presented him before an accountability court.  The anti-graft body had then been granted a 10-day physical remand of the former Punjab CM.

I call NAB officers to question me: Shehbaz Sharif

Speaking to media outside the accountability court, Shehbaz said, “They could not prove a penny’s worth corruption against me.”
“I call NAB officers myself to question me,” he added.
Regarding the last hearing when he was pushed around by a crowd as he was walking towards an armoured vehicle, Shehbaz said, “I suffered back pain owing to that but am better now.”
Taking a hit at the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, Shehbaz said, “Their performance in the last two months has proven that the promises they made were hollow.”

Corruption allegations

According to the anti-graft body, Shehbaz cancelled the contract awarded to M/s Ch A Latif & Sons for infrastructure development of Ashiana Iqbal Housing Project and awarded it to CASA Developers.
“The former Punjab chief minister misused his powers and his actions caused a huge loss to the national exchequer,” the NAB prosecutor had said.
However, Shehbaz denied the allegations as “false and baseless”.

‘Case was politically motivated’

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.”