Ashiana Housing Scheme case: Court sends Shahbaz to jail

Ashiana Housing Scheme case: Court sends Shahbaz to jail

Agency News

Islamabad, Dec 6: An accountability court in Lahore on Thursday sent PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif to jail on a judicial remand in connection with the Ashiana Housing Scheme case.

Sharif, who was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on October 15, has had his remand extended multiple times, the last of which took place on Nov 28.

That eight-day extension expired on Thursday, following which he was produced before the court, with the corruption watchdog seeking another extension of his physical remand.

The request for physical remand was, however, turned down by the court, which sent Shahbaz to Camp Jail on a judicial remand instead. He will be produced before the court again on Dec 13.

In today's hearing, Sharif's lawyer Amjad Pervez told the court that details of his client's finances from 2011 to 2017 were clearly stated in the records of his tax return. He added "tax laws did not require citizens to mention details of gifts".

Furthermore, Sharif had withdrawn money from his personal account, which is not a crime under Pakistan's law, Pervez said. He argued that there was no evidence of Sharif spending more than his income. "It would have been a crime if Shahbaz's expenses had exceeded his tax returns," Pervez said, urging the court to refuse NAB's demand for extension of a physical remand.

Pervez said that Sharif was being accused of corruption because he is a politician and a former Punjab chief minister. NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua apprised the court of the investigation's progress and requested a further 15-day extension in Sharif's physical remand. According to NAB, Sharif had abused his powers during his time as the chief minister of Punjab.

Accountability judge Syed Najmul Hasan heard the case. (UNI)