— Court rejects accountability watchdog’s request for extension in ex-Punjab CM’s physical remand
–PML-N workers clash with police outside accountability court, several injured
— Punjab info minister claims violence by PML-N was ‘pre planned’
LAHORE: An accountability court sent former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif to Kot Lakhpat jail on judicial remand in connection with the Ashiana-e-Iqbal housing scheme scam.
Shehbaz, who has been in the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody since October 5 in connection to the case, was presented before the court as the accountability watchdog sought an extension in his physical remand.
The former provincial chief minister was sent to Camp jail on Ferozepur Road, and later transferred to Kot Lakhpat jail. A five-person security team has been appointed to monitor him.
As Accountability Judge Syed Najamul Hasan heard the case, the court questioned NAB, however, it failed to provide satisfactory answers. The request for an extension was then rejected as the court sent the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader to jail on judicial remand.
During the hearing, Shehbaz’s counsel Amjad Pervez told the court that the details of Shehbaz’s expenses during 2011 and 2017 were filed in his tax returns, and it wasn’t legally mandatory to mention details of gifts in the tax records.
Defending his client, he added that there was no evidence that he had spent more than his income.
Urging the court to reject the bureau’s request for an extension, he claimed: “It would’ve have been criminal if Shehbaz’s expenses were more than the figures mentioned on his tax returns.”
The hearing of the case was then adjourned till December 13.
UGLY BRAWL BETWEEN POLICE AND PML-N:
Earlier, PML-N lawmakers and workers clashed with police workers outside the court premises. They were trying to remove barriers upon which the police baton-charged them which resulted in a brawl.
A party member was injured as the struggle escalated and several were taken into custody.
Speaking about the clash, PML-N leader Malik Ahmed accused police of manhandling party members, including spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb and Khawaja Imran Nazeer.
He added that PML-N had merely shown up to support the party’s president, and had no intentions to cause a ruckus. “Police hit peaceful workers and even baton-charged the deputy mayor,” he added.
On the other hand, Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan said that PML-N gathered outside the court with an intention to cause chaos.
“They tried to fight with the police and the personnel responded. No one can take the law into their own hands”, he said, adding that the situation had been hyped up.
NAB has alleged that as chief minister of Punjab, Shehbaz transferred the Ashiana Scheme project from Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) to Lahore Development Authority (LDA), ordered for the project to be transferred back from LDA to PLDC, illegally ordered for the project to be transferred to Paragon Housing Society and then kept it in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode, interfered in board affairs and took measures in violation of the law, and illegally cancelled the contract of Lateef & Sons contractors in 2013.