Pakistan Muslim League (N) chief Shahbaz Sharif arrested
Former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif was on Friday arrested by the Pakistan National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at its Lahore office in the Rs14 billion Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case.
The Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly has been accused of corruption in the Ashiana Housing case. He will be produced before an accountability court for remand on Friday.
"The National Accountability Bureau Lahore has arrested former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif in the Ashiana company case," a press release issued by NAB Islamabad said, adding that the bureau will present him before an accountability court in Lahore on Saturday.
He will be kept in a highly-secured lock-up inside the NAB Lahore office until his appearance in court.
The PML-N president will be presented before Admin Judge Syed Najmul Hassan amidst tight security. NAB will request the court for Shahbaz's 14-day physical remand, NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua said.
Lawyer Amjad Pervez will represent Shahbaz before the court.
Shahbaz was detained by NAB officials after he appeared before the bureau in the Saaf Pani Company scam case and his car was sent away. His private staff who accompanied him as security were also sent away.
A heavy contingent of Rangers has been posted outside NAB Lahore.
Supporters of the PML-N also started gathering outside the bureau's office. The arrest comes a little over a week ahead of the by-polls scheduled for October 14.
Meanwhile, PML-N' s members of the National Assembly have submitted a letter to the NA speaker, requesting a session of the lower house to discuss the opposition leader's arrest. The requisition request is accompanied by the signatures of 90 MNAs.
According to a NAB notice sent to the former Punjab chief minister on January 16, 2018, Shahbaz is accused of ordering the cancellation of award of contract of Ashiana-i-Iqbal to successful bidder Chaudhry Latif and Sons, leading to award of the contract to Lahore Casa Developers, a proxy group of Paragon City Private Limited, which resulted in the loss of approximately Rs193,000 million.
He is also accused of directing the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) to assign the Ashiana-i-Iqbal project to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), resulting in the award of contract to the Lahore Casa developers, causing the loss of Rs715m and the ultimate failure of the project.
NAB has also accused Shahbaz of directing the PLDC to award the consultancy services of the Ashiana-i-Iqbal project to Engineering Consultancy Services Punjab (ECSP) for Rs 192m while the actual cost was supposed to be Rs35m as quoted by Nespak.