ISLAMABAD: Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday congratulated Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly (NA) Shehbaz Sharif on his release from jail.
“Shehbaz’s freedom is a welcome sign for democracy,” the PPP leader said while adding that “it is not reasonable to keep someone in jail merely on the basis of allegations”.
“We have always raised our voice for the supremacy of the parliament,” he said of his party’s stance on the matter, as he vowed to keep on raising his voice for the supremacy of the parliament.
“It’s our right to protect the Constitution. The Centre was strengthened and stabilised as a result of the 18th Amendment,” he added.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader was released on Friday evening after NAB obtained the court’s orders for his release.
Upon his release, Shehbaz left the minister’s enclave in Islamabad — earlier declared a sub-jail by the capital administration – and left for the new Islamabad International Airport from where he flew to Lahore.
On Thursday the Lahore High Court had accepted Shehbaz’s request for bail in the Ashiana Housing Scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases.
Shehbaz was taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore in connection with the Ashiana Housing case on October 5, 2018.
The former Punjab chief minister had been charged with misuse of authority by unlawfully assuming powers of the board of directors of the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC), and awarding a contract to an ineligible proxy firm that resulted in the failure of the housing scheme. The scam caused a loss to the public exchequer and deprived 61,000 applicants of houses.
It is also alleged that Shehbaz’s directive to entrust the project of a housing scheme to the Lahore Development Authority from the PLDC and intervention into affairs of the company was in violation of the Companies Ordinance, Memorandum and Article of Association and Corporate Governance Rules 2013.
NAB had alleged that the former chief minister through his unlawful acts and misuse of authority caused a loss of Rs660 million to the exchequer and the overall project cost Rs3.39 billion.