LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday approved Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif’s bail petitions in Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases and ordered his release.
NAB had arrested Shehbaz on October 5, 2018 in connection to the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case.
A two-judge bench headed by Justice Malik Shehzad Ahmad heard Shehbaz and former principal secretary to then prime minister Nawaz Sharif Fawad Hasan Fawad’s bail petitions.
The bench first reserved its decision but later ordered the release of the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly.
Further, the bench approved Fawad’s bail petition in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case but rejected it in the case pertaining to owing assets beyond known sources of income.
On January 22, Shehbaz had filed a bail plea in the LHC stating, “The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) made a case contrary to the law and arrested me. The case was made on political basis.”
“Whatever I did was in accordance with the law and Constitution. Not even an inch of official land was given to anyone and LHC should accept my bail plea,” the petition had added. Shehbaz had also mentioned medical reasons in his petition seeking bail.
Former chief minister Shehbaz in a tweet said that he was humbled and grateful to Allah for the blessings.
In his tweet, Shehbaz Sharif also thanked his brother former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz workers and people of the country for giving his courage.
NAB allegations against Shehbaz
NAB had accused Shehbaz of misusing his powers while being the chief minister of Punjab in an inquiry pertaining to Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC).
The inquiry conducted so far reveals sufficient evidence to prove the involvement of former chief minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif “in the commission of offences as defined under section 9(a) and Schedule of the National Accountability Bureau 1999”, a statement issued by NAB following Shehbaz’s arrest had stated.
The inquiry conducted states that Shehbaz as the chief minister of Punjab had unlawfully assumed powers of Board of Directors of Punjab Land and Development Company (PLDC), misused his authority and acted in connivance with Fawad Hassan Fawad who at the time was Secretary Implementation to CM Punjab and others. Contracts awarded to M/s Ch. A Latif and sons for the development and infrastructure of Ashiana Iqbal Housing Project were illegally cancelled.
As the chief minister, Shehbaz Sharif in a meeting on October 21, 2014 unlawfully directed PLDC to entrust the project of Ashiana Iqbal Punjab to LDA. This decision of Sharif was illegal and mala fide as PLDC was the company which was established for undertaking such housing projects. Shehbaz is accused of illegally transferring this project to LDA, which was headed by his close aide Ahad Khan Cheema.
Shehbaz is also accused of working in connivance with other accused in the case and directed LDA to undertake Ashiana Iqbal Project under Public Private Partnership mode. NAB states this was done in order to give “unlawful benefit to blue-eyed firm namely M/s Bismillah Engineering Service Company, which was a proxy firm to M/s Paragon City.”