News Desk |
In his first appearance before an accountability court after returning from London, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif claimed that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was wasting the country and court’s time as the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case against him was based on lies.
The Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif made these remarks after he appeared before the court in Lahore in the Ashiana housing and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases. During the proceedings, when the court asked PML-N leader if he wanted to say something, Shehbaz said NAB had made a “fraud case” against him.
NAB’s special prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua said that Hamza was in NAB custody on physical custody remand in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case.
“I have served the country. Ashiana case is based on lies,” Shehbaz said, adding “NAB is wasting the country and the court’s time … the entire case is based on lies”.
On June 9, he returned to Pakistan following a trip to London. On April 9, Shehbaz had announced a “quick visit” to London after his name was removed from the no-fly list on the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC).
Hamza not produced before court
During court proceedings, the judge enquired why the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz was not produced before the court. NAB’s special prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua said that Hamza was in NAB custody on physical custody remand in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case.
On June 11, the accountability watchdog took Hamza into custody from the premises of LHC after the provincial opposition leader through his counsel requested the court to allow him to withdraw his bail applications. LHC’s division bench accepted the plea and ‘dismissed the applications as withdrawn’.
During court proceedings, the judge enquired why the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz was not produced before the court.
Hamza, who is facing inquiries in cases related to Punjab Saaf Pani Company, Ramzan Sugar Mills, money laundering and assets beyond means, appeared before the court on Tuesday. Following the hearing, the NAB officials detained him.
While adjourning the Ramzan Sugar Mills case, the court ordered the accountability bureau to present Hamza in court during the next hearing on June 26. Meanwhile, the court directed the prosecution to produce witnesses in the Ashiana housing case on June 29.
Father, son plead not guilty
On April 9, a court in Lahore had indicted Shehbaz and his son Hamza in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case. Both the suspects had pleaded not guilty and maintained that they had not only saved Rs2,300 billion but the money was never misused.
Earlier, the LHC had granted and extended Hamza’s interim bail in an ongoing investigation into assets beyond known sources of income. LHC had barred NAB from arresting him. On February 14, Shehbaz was also granted bail by the LHC in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases.
Previously, a NAB team has tried to arrest Hamza twice on grounds that he was not cooperating in the ongoing investigation but couldn’t succeed because of resistance by guards and the party workers.
Subsequently, a case was registered against Hamza’s guards on an application filed by the NAB saying that Hamza’s guards had manhandled members of the NAB team, tore their clothes, and threatened their lives when they raided his residence to arrest him.