LAHORE: An accountability court on Wednesday extended Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif’s physical remand till December 6 in the Ashiana Housing scheme scam.
Shehbaz, who has been in the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody since October 5 in connection to the case, was presented before an accountability court as the accountability watchdog sought an extension in his remand.
Prior to the hearing, security had been tightened in and around the court premises and roads leading to it had been blocked for traffic.
Judge Saeed Najam, who was hearing the case, asked NAB how long the opposition leader in the National Assembly, has been in custody. NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua responded that Shehbaz has been in custody for 54 days.
“Shehbaz was given a questionnaire regarding the case on Nov 19 but he submitted his written reply in the case yesterday (Tuesday),” Janjua said, adding that in reply to three or four questions, Shehbaz has said that he does not remember the correct details and will have to check [some documents] to answer them.
Shehbaz’s lawyer Amjad Pervaiz argued that investigation into the case had been going on since January this year, and that the PML-N president had been in NAB custody for 54 days now.
“NAB is looking to extend Shehbaz’s remand illegally and without cause,” the lawyer argued in court, adding that the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) had already taken all of the information regarding the PML-N president’s tax details.
“In 2011 Shehbaz gave his son Hamza a gift of Rs80 million. The details of that were not mentioned in his tax returns,” Janjua contended.
“This occurred two years prior [to the scope of the investigation], why is it being linked to the Aashiana investigation?” Shehbaz’s lawyer asked.
“From what [point in] time is NAB investigating the case,” the judge asked after hearing this exchange, to which Janjua replied that NAB had been investigating the matter since December 2012.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the court reserved its verdict on the matter, later announcing that Shehbaz would remain in NAB custody for another week.
The NAB prosecutor also mentioned that Shehbaz’s medical examination would be conducted at Sheikh Zayed Hospital.
Shehbaz, however, preferred to be treated at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) “since they know all of my [medical] history”, he told the court.
After a series of medical examinations ordered by the court, the opposition leader’s medical reports revealed that he is suffering from a kidney infection, has a lymph node in his chest, and faces chances of a recurrence of cancer.
Although earlier medical reports had deemed Shehbaz fit for NAB’s custody, the column mentioning his fitness for detention was left blank in the the latest medical certificate issued on Tuesday.