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Ashiana Housing case: Shehbaz’s physical remand extended till Dec 6

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LAHORE: An accountability court on Wednesday extended the physical remand of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif till December 6 in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case.

Shehbaz, who has been in National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody since October 5 in connection to the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case, was presented before an accountability court in Lahore as the accountability watchdog sought an extension in his remand.

As the hearing went under way, Judge Najmul Hassan questioned how long Shehbaz has been in NAB’s custody. NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua informed the court that the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly has been in custody for 54 days now.

The former Punjab chief minister corrected the NAB prosecutor and said he has been in custody for 55 days. Following this, the judge inquired, “Has NAB still not concluded the investigation in this case?” The NAB prosecutor replied, “National Assembly sessions were under way for several days owing to which the investigation could not be carried out.”

Shehbaz once again interrupted and said, “Investigation was underway and I was even given a questionnaire during that time.”

Presenting his arguments, the NAB prosecutor said, “Shehbaz misused his authority in Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme and he is accused of causing a loss of millions to the national exchequer during his term as Punjab chief minister.”

Further, NAB investigation officer added, “We are not saying that he was involved in corruption but want to investigate the gifts that he had given.”

“There is no record of the gift that was given to Hamza Shehbaz in 2011. We can present the tax returns and ask how a gift worth Rs60 million was given?” the NAB investigation officer said.

At this, Shehbaz’s lawyer Amjad Pervaiz said, “The investigation officer should talk about the Ashiana Iqbal case and if there are any irregularities pertaining to it.”

Shehbaz added, “I was not allowed to meet others named in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case.” The judge then asked whether statements of “these people been recorded” and the NAB prosecutor informed him that they have been.

Shehbaz’s medical reports presented in court

Further, during the hearing, Shehbaz’s medical reports were presented in court. Shehbaz’s lawyer informed the judge, “As per the medical reports, my client is suffering from cancer.”

To this, the NAB investigation officer said, “A board comprising medical specialists will be formed for Shehbaz and we are ready to provide him whatever treatment he desires.”

Shehbaz told the court that his medical examination is being conducted at PIMS in Islamabad and thus, the court should direct that his treatment continues there.

After hearing the arguments, the judge granted NAB a nine-day extension in Shehbaz’s physical remand and adjourned the hearing till December 6.

Security had been tightened in and around the court premises and roads leading to it had been blocked for traffic ahead of Shehbaz’s appearance.

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