Accountability court reserves verdict on NAB’s request to extend Shahbaz’s remand

 
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Islamabad, Nov 10 (TNS): An accountability court in Lahore on Saturday reserved its decision over the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) request for a 15-day physical remand of leader of the opposition and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif.

NAB, during a hearing of the Ashiana-i-Iqbal scandal today, requested the court to extend by 15 days the physical remand of the PML-N president, who was arrested last month on corruption allegations.

NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua said that the anti-corruption body was unable to hold an inquiry due to Sharif’s “engagements in the National Assembly and [his] other activities as leader of the opposition”.

Sharif rejected NAB’s claim and countered: “I can say under oath that they have been interrogating me even when my production orders [were issued].”

Amjad Pervaiz, the accused’s counsel, objected to NAB’s demand for another remand and said that the body’s appeal was “not in accordance with the law”.

“NAB’s latest request is on fake grounds,” he said. “This court is not bound to automatically grant a 90-day remand of a suspect.”

Pervaiz added that his client had cooperated with NAB’s investigation, but the latter had been unable to bring forth any corruption charges against Sharif.

The NAB prosecutor responded that the feasibility report of the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme was prepared by Ahad Cheema, the former director general of the Lahore Development Authority, who is also accused in the case.

“Will you proceed further from the feasibility report?” accountability judge Syed Najmul Hasan asked Janju, possibly referring to the NAB prosecutor’s similar argument in the previous hearing.

Janjua also informed the court that Sharif was nominated and under arrest in the Ramzan Sugar Mills corruption case as well.

Sharif was produced before court today following the expiration of his transit remand. Hamza Shahbaz was also present in court.

Contingents of police were posted inside and outside the accountability court before Sharif’s arrival.

Several PML-N workers gathered outside the court ahead of Sharif’s appearance and tried to enter the building which led to a clash with police, who resorted to baton charge to bring the situation under control.