Pakistan's anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), on Friday arrested the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore over his alleged involvement in a mega housing scheme scam.
Sharif is the younger brother of former premier Nawaz Sharif who was disqualified from his position in 2017 over corruption charges.
The judge was pressed by the counsel for Nawaz Sharif, Khawaja Haris as the hearing into the Al-Azizia reference began on Friday, however, the judge observed that he had summoned DG NAB Irfan Mangi the day before yesterday, however, Mangi left after waiting for some time which is why the meeting took place yesterday. The arrest came a little over a week ahead of the by-polls scheduled for October 14.
Earlier in the day, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) presented Shahbaz before the court and requested his 15-day remand for further probe into the graft case, but the court allowed 10-day remand, senior legal expert and lawyer Saad Rasool told media.
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She said no prior information or warrant was issued before arrest of Shahbaz Sharif.
Shehbaz Sharif, who recently lost the Pakistan General elections to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and Prime Minister Imran Khan, has been accused of providing illegal contracts to the Saaf Pani company. A large number of PML-N workers gathered outside the court and chanted slogans against Prime Minister Imran Khan for taking "revenge" from the Sharif brothers. He allegedly cancelled the award of contract of the Ashiana housing project to successful bidder "Chaudhry Latif and Sons" to oblige his "favourite" firm the "Lahore Casa Developers", a proxy group of "Paragon City Private Limited", causing a loss of millions of rupees. "We are assessing the situation and consulting party leadership to prepare astrategy for a future course of action", said Malik Ahmed Khan, spokesman from Sharif's PML-N party. Nawaz Sharif was released from prison last month pending an appeal against his conviction.
He will appear in an accountability court on Saturday, the NAB said. This, in turn, would open the way for Shehbaz Sharif's party to return to power in the coveted province of Punjab. Fawad had reportedly also provided "incriminating evidence" against the younger Sharif in the corruption case, making it hard for him to defend himself before NAB's investigators.
Pakistan Peoples Party leader Khursheed Shah condemned the arrest, calling it an insult to Parliament.