–Court tells ex-CM’s counsel to give final date by May 28
LAHORE: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif will return to Pakistan after Eidul Fitr, his counsel told an accountability court in Lahore on Saturday.
During the hearing of Ramzan Sugar Mills and Ashiana Housing Scheme corruption cases, in which the PML-N president is a chief suspect, the court directed Shehbaz’s counsel to give the court a “final date” of his return by May 28.
Shehbaz’s lawyer told the court that he will be back after Eid as he has an appointment with his doctor in Pakistan on June 7.
The opposition leader had gone to London for a “quick visit” over a month ago to meet his grandchildren and to undergo a medical checkup and has not returned since.
During the hearing, accountability judge Jawadul Hasan demanded evidence to justify Shehbaz’s visit to London. “Which document do I have which shows that Shehbaz’s medical treatment is not possible in Pakistan?” he asked.
Shehbaz’s counsel insisted that doctors in Pakistan had suggested the PML-N chief to go to London for medical treatment. “He is not asking for a permanent exemption, it’s just a matter of two weeks,” the lawyer said.
He pointed out that despite Shehbaz’s absence the trial of the case had not stopped.
National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua complained that even though the rest of the suspects named in the references were present before the court, the trial was not progressing due to Shehbaz’s absence.
Janjua further said that the former Punjab chief minister had not taken the court’s permission before leaving. The hearing was adjourned until May 28.
In the Ashiyana housing scam, Shehbaz Sharif is accused of ordering the cancellation of a contract given to successful bidder Chaudhry Latif and Sons for the low-cost housing scheme, which led to the subsequent award of the contract to Lahore Casa Developers, a proxy group of Paragon City Private Limited, resulting in a loss of Rs193 million.
In the Ramzan Sugar Mills corruption case, Shehbaz and his son Hamza Shehbaz are accused of “fraudulently and dishonestly” causing a loss of Rs213 million to the national exchequer.