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Sunday April 21, 2024

NAB gives Shehbaz clean chit in another case

Shehbaz Sharif’s name had now been cleared from all NAB cases against him

By Numan Wahab
May 21, 2023
A file photo of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — RadioPakistan
A file photo of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — RadioPakistan

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau on Saturday declared Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Kamran Kiyani (brother of former army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani), and 12 others innocent in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case.

The NAB report, submitted to the Accountability Court, also cleared the names of Fawad Hassan Fawad (former principal secretary to then prime minister Nawaz Sharif), former director general of the Lahore Development Authority Ahad Cheema and others.

Shehbaz Sharif’s name had now been cleared from all NAB cases against him. Last year, after amendments to the NAB law, the accountability court had returned a reference of Ramazan Sugar Mills against Shehbaz to the bureau. Under the new Chairman NAB Lt-Gen (retd) Nazir Ahmad Butt, Shehbaz’s name had been cleared in two references, one related to Rs7 billion assets beyond means and money laundering, and the other related to the Ashiana scam. In February 2019, Shehbaz and 13 others were indicted in this case. The NAB had accused Shehbaz Sharif of misusing his authority, resulting in the project’s failure and depriving 61,000 applicants of housing units.

The NAB had alleged that Shehbaz, in collusion with former LDA DG Ahad Cheema, had awarded the contract to a proxy firm.

Additionally, Shehbaz Sharif had unlawfully transferred the Ashiana-e-Iqbal project from PLDC to LDA, usurping the powers of the Punjab Land Development Company’s Board of Directors.

These actions had caused a loss of approximately Rs660 million to the state exchequer and escalated the project cost by around Rs3.39 billion, according to the reference.