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Shehbaz Sharif delivers angry speech after NAB hearing

Shehbaz Sharif

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Chief Minister (CM) of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif appeared before National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday. He was summoned for an inquiry for the alleged fraud in the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme. Shehbaz Sharif declared that the summons was based on ill intentions. The chief minister also highlighted that he could have sent a written response to NAB, as per the law, but he still chose to appear and face the summons.

NAB regional office sent a summon to CM Punjab on Wednesday for alleged corruption in the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme. According to the notice, CM Punjab unlawfully assumed the functions of the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC). The unlawful orders given by CM Shehbaz were the “order for cancellation of award of contract of Aashiana-e-lqbal to successful bidder M/s Ch Latif and Sons, leading to award of contract to M/s Lahore Casa Developers (JV), a proxy group of M/s Paragon City (Pvt) Limited which resulted into loss of Rs. 715/- million approximately and ultimately failure of the project.”

The only corruption and money laundering cases that surfaced during the tenure of PML-N were against the chief of PML-N Nawaz Sharif and his family. One is forced to wonder if Shehbaz Sharif will bring back the money PML-N is accused of looting from all over the world.

The other allegation against the CM Punjab was that he awarded consultancy services of the project to M/s Engineering Consultancy Services Punjab (ECSP) for 192 million rupees, whereas, the actual cost of the consultancy services was 35 million rupees as quoted by Nespak. Shehbaz Sharif was asked to report to NAB authorities for alleged misuse of authority, resulting in the loss of 1 billion rupees to the national treasury.

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After recording his one and a half hour statement in NAB regional office, Shehbaz Sharif addressed a news conference on Monday. Rather than briefing about the details of his statement to NAB, Shehbaz immediately accused the NAB for calling him with mala fide intentions. He defended his role in the PLDC, stating that being the chief minister of the province; it was his job to overlook all the projects in the province. Shehbaz stated that he violated no law as the government has to monitor different projects.

Shehbaz Sharif repeated the same promises that he made back in 2013, the tenure of PML-N government is almost over and they have failed to bring back even a single penny. In fact no cases have been launched against the PPP which the PML-N repeatedly accuses of corruption.

The CM claimed that he saved millions of rupees from corruption by interfering in the project. ‘Is it a crime to save public money? If it is then I’ll commit this crime again and again’, he declared. Shehbaz defended the project claiming that the government spent 2 billion rupees for the construction of 1700 low-cost house for the poor. He denied the accusations that the land for the housing scheme was grabbed by anyone, he claimed that the land was bought from the Rangers in March 2014 during the tenure of former army chief (retd) Pervez Kiyani.

The funding of the project was provided by the Punjab Bank according to Shehbaz. Speaking about the allegation that he cancelled Chaudhry Latif and Sons (CLS) contract, he said he didn’t cancel or award any contracts. CLS were awarded the contract of the construction of roads and infrastructure but were cancelled by the PLDC for violating the contractual obligations. “I have been working [as chief minister] of Punjab since 1997, but if corruption of a single penny is proved against me then I will go home,” he declared.

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Without further elaborating on the corruption cases against himself and his family, he jumped to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and their corruption in the Islamabad Safe City project, and Chichonki Malian Hydropower Plant. Shehbaz promised that if Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) comes to power again, they will bring back Pakistan’s looted money from all across the world. He threatened NAB that if the accountability is not done on merit, the country will face a revolution.

The CM claimed that he saved millions of rupees from corruption by interfering in the project. ‘Is it a crime to save public money? If it is then I’ll commit this crime again and again’, he declared.

Shehbaz also hinted that the only reason NAB called him to the court was because of pressure from PTI and PAT. An angry statement like this suggests he is feeling the pressure from the two parties who are increasing the pressure on him to resign for his alleged role in the Model Town massacre of 2014.

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Shehbaz Sharif repeated the same promises that he made back in 2013, the tenure of PML-N government is almost over and they have failed to bring back even a single penny. In fact no cases have been launched against the PPP which the PML-N repeatedly accuses of corruption. The only corruption and money laundering cases that surfaced during the tenure of PML-N were against the chief of PML-N Nawaz Sharif and his family. One is forced to wonder if Shehbaz Sharif will bring back the money PML-N is accused of looting from all over the world.


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