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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Pakistan Leader of Opposition indicted in corruption case

Separately, the Lahore Accountability Court issued bailable arrest warrant against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, currently in London for treatment, in a land allotment case involving Geo Media Group owner Mir Shakilur Rehman.

By: PTI | Lahore | Updated: August 6, 2020 9:35:52 pm
File Photo: Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab Province and brother of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, gestures after appearing before a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in Islamabad, Pakistan June 17, 2017. (Reuters)

A Pakistani court on Thursday indicted Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shahbaz in a corruption case.

Separately, the Lahore Accountability Court issued bailable arrest warrant against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, currently in London for treatment, in a land allotment case involving Geo Media Group owner Mir Shakilur Rehman.

The accountability court in Lahore indicted Shahbaz, 68, on the charges of using taxpayers’ money to construct a drain in Chiniot (250 km from Lahore) in (2010-2013) which allegedly benefitted a business run by his sons.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president used his position at the time as chief minister of Punjab to approve the drain’s construction at a cost of Rs 36 crore, benefitting the Ramzan Sugar Mills which is owned by his sons Hamza and Salman.

“The public funds were misused for the benefit of a family business. The people getting benefits from the drain were few in number,” the court said.

Salman is absconding in London and Hamza is in jail on judicial remand. Hamza is the Punjab Assembly’s Opposition Leader.

Sharif told the court that wrong charges were framed against him and his son. The 70-year-old PML-N chief said he had saved billions of rupees in different development projects in the province. The court adjourned the hearing till August 27.

In the other land case, the accountability court issued bailable arrest warrants against three-time premier Nawaz Sharif.

Special Prosecutor Haris Qureshi said the suspect (Nawaz Sharif) was not brought to the court in the light of the government’s COVID-19 standard operating procedures.

The judge directed the prosecutor to treat the case as ‘special’ and ensure the appearance of the suspect at the next hearing.

The prosecutor also submitted a report about non-service of the court’s summons to Nawaz Sharif at his Lahore address. The report said the suspect was in London.

At this, the judge issued bailable warrants for the arrest of the former premier and adjourned the hearing till August 20.

Sharif had left for London in November last year after getting bail in a money laundering case, and the Al-Azizia case in which he was convicted for seven years. He left for the UK to treat a heart ailment.

The former prime minister recently submitted his medical reports to the Lahore High Court stating that because of coronavirus doctors had advised him not to go outside, therefore he could not return.

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