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Ashiana case: Witness says NAB forced him to become approver against Shehbaz

Senior NAB official pressurised to level charges against Shehbaz so that the his bail gets cancelled, says witness

By News Desk
February 15, 2023
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — Twitter/File
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — Twitter/File

LAHORE: A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) witness against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the Ashiana case has retracted his earlier statement and said he was forced by NAB officials to become an approver in the case.

An accountability court heard the case. During the hearing, LDA Chief Engineer Asrar Saeed admitted that he had been pressurised by the then Lahore NAB DG, Director Muhammad Rafi and case officer Aftab Ahmed to become an approver in the case. He informed the court that the senior NAB official had asked him to level charges against Shehbaz so that the PM’s bail could be cancelled. “I was threatened with more cases if I did not cooperate,” he added.

He said the-then NAB Director Muhammad Rafi had shown him his arrest warrant and offered him to sign a written statement, but he refused and was arrested. He said he was made to wait for an hour to go to the toilet. “CCTV cameras were installed in the washroom. I was provided with a mat to sleep on and the lights were kept on all night,” he added. He said on his second remand, NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal and the senior NAB official came to his cell and said they were under immense pressure and asked him to sign a statement or his problems would increase. “They threatened me with a case of income beyond means. I was forced to sign the statement, which was not true. They also forced me to sign a blank paper,” he added.

He said the NAB had not opposed his bail in the LHC after he became an approver. “The Ashiana scheme was a corruption-free project and no law was violated. All accused including Shehbaz Sharif have not committed any crime or deceived the public,” he contended.