—NAB to seek extension in remand of PML-N president which expires on Oct 30
LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif is going to be produced before the accountability court on Monday in the Ashiana Housing Scheme scam, ahead of the expiry of his physical remand.
Shehbaz’s remand is set to expire on October 30. However, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) decided to push back the date owing to a public holiday in connection with annual urs of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh.
The anti-corruption watchdog said that it needed more time to interrogate the former Punjab chief minister as part of its investigation into the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme and would, therefore, request the court to extend the physical remand of the PML-N president.
Moreover, a session of the National Assembly (NA) is scheduled to be held at 4 in the evening on Monday, and Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif, under production order, will also attend the session.
12 newly elected members including former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will also take oath in the house.
The opposition parties have been mulling a strategy to give tough time to the government in the house through motions, points of order and call attention motions. In this reference, opposition members are in contacts on the issues to be presented in the house.
According to sources in opposition parties, the members will seek details pertaining to the agreements reached during the visits of the Prime Minister Imran Khan of foreign countries, particularly the terms and conditions attached under which the friendly countries who have provided financial support to Pakistan.
The opposition will ask the government to take the house into confidence in this regard.
On Saturday, NAB approved an inquiry against the Shehbaz Sharif for possessing assets beyond income.
Earlier, an accountability court in Lahore had extended Shehbaz‘s physical remand to NAB for 14 days after his previous 10-day remand ended on October 16.
During the proceedings, Shehbaz maintained he himself ordered investigation into corruption allegations in the housing scheme and denied awarding contracts to a favorite firm.
He was arrested on October 5 after appearing before the NAB team in Saaf Paani Company scheme. NAB said Shehbaz failed to satisfy the investigation team regarding a tender awarded to a private consultancy firm and was therefore arrested.
The anti-graft watchdog said the firm did not conduct any kind of survey but was provided a lucrative sum of Rs1.5 billion. It added that Fawad Hassan Fawad, the principal secretary to former premier Nawaz Sharif, had become an approver in the case.
Fawad, in his statement, had claimed that he had awarded a contract to a “favourite firm” in the Rs14 billion Ashiana Housing project at the behest of Shehbaz Sharif.
The anti-graft agency said that the contract for the housing scheme was won by a construction company titled Chaudhry Latif and Sons but Sharif cancelled it and later on awarded the contract to Lahore Casa Developers – a proxy group of Paragon City (Pvt) Limited, which is said to be owned by former Railways minister Saad Rafique.