NAB submits reply on acquittal plea of co-accused in Ashiana reference

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Opposition Leader in National Assembly (NA) Shehbaz Sharif on Monday has appeared before accountability court in Ashiana Housing reference.

During the hearing, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has submitted a reply on acquittal plea of co-accused Bilal. Subsequently, the hearing has been adjourned till December 13.

Earlier, accountability court had nullified the decision of exempting Shehbaz Sharif from the hearings in connection with Ashiana Housing reference.

The court had summoned Shehbaz Sharif in personal capacity and said that It’s not appropriate to exempt an accused in one case while he is appearing in another one.

In January 2020, the accountability court had accepted Shehbaz Sharif’s plea seeking permanent exemption from the hearings of Ashiana Housing and Ramzan Sugar Mills references.

The lawyer of PML-N president had submitted the exemption plea in the court and told that his client was unable to attend the hearings as he was in London at that time.

On October 5, 2018, NAB had arrested Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam for awarding illegal contracts to his favorite firm. However, in February 2019, he was granted bail by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

The anti-corruption watchdog had claimed that the company did not conduct any kind of survey but nevertheless was provided a lucrative sum of Rs 1.5 billion.

Ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s principal secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad became an approver in the case.

Fawad Hassan Fawad, in his statement before NAB, had claimed that he had awarded a contract to a “favourite firm” in the Rs14 billion Ashiana Housing project at the behest of Shahbaz Sharif.

NAB stated 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.

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