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Ruling reserved on NAB plea for 15-day extension in Shehbaz’s remand

LAHORE: An accountability court on Monday reserved its verdict on a NAB plea to extend the physical remand of Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif for 15 more days in a case pertaining to the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing scandal.

Accountability Judge Syed Najamul Hasan reserved the verdict on the bureau’s request and is likely to announce his ruling shortly.

Shehbaz was presented in court a day before his 14-day physical remand is to end. NAB asked the judge to extend his remand for another 15 days as his custody was required for further questioning.

He was brought to the court amid tight security as heavy contingents of police and Pakistan Rangers Punjab were deployed in and outside the court.

A larger number of PML-N workers also gathered outside the court and chanted anti-government slogans.

Shehbaz complained to the accountability judge that neither did NAB officials permit him to hold a weekly meeting with his family members, nor did they got his sugar and blood tests conducted nevertheless he was a cancer patient and had undergone a surgery abroad.

He lamented even Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was allowed to meet his family members but he was denied a meeting.

He said the bureau took him into custody in the Ashiana scandal and quizzed him about this scandal as well as the Saaf Pani Company scam and his assets.

Shehbaz said he is present in court in connection with false and incorrect accusations.

He said he patiently answered all questions put to him by NAB officials.

The PML-N president said barely a day went by without him being questioned about the Ashiana and Saaf Pani Company scandals.

A NAB lawyer objected to Shehbaz’s statement in court at which judge censured the former, saying the court has granted the accused permission to speak.

Shehbaz said the NAB is seeking his remand to ask questions which he has already answered

On Oct 16, Accountability Judge Syed Najamul Hasan granted 14-day extension in the physical remand of the PML-N president, who has been in NAB custody since Oct 5.

He was presented in the court as his earlier physical remand expired. NAB asked for a 15-day extension in the PML-N leader’s remand as his lawyer opposed the request, contending that the Bureau has failed to get any information about charges against his client during his remand.

He pleaded the judge to reject NAB plea for an extension.

The NAB on Oct 5 arrested the PML-N president inside its Lahore office where he was summoned to record his statement in connection with the Punjab Saaf Pani Company case.

A combined investigation team of the country’s top anti-graft watchdog quizzed him for an hour over his alleged role in awarding contract to his “favourite firm” in violation of laws in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal housing project.

The Bureau later issued a statement, declaring that former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif has been arrested in the scam.

Shahbaz’s blue-eyed officers, Lahore Development Authority former director general Ahad Cheema and Fawad Hasan Fawad, are already in NAB custody in the Ashiana Housing case.

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