LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif for March 24 on a petition filed by the National Accountability Bureau, challenging the trial court’s orders of granting him permanent exemption from appearance in two cases.

Shehbaz, also President of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, is in London to ‘look after’ his ailing brother Nawaz Sharif.

The two-judge bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh heard the petition here on Tuesday. A NAB prosecutor appeared before the court and argued that Shehbaz Sharif was the main accused in two cases related to Ashiyana-e-Iqbal Housing project and Ramzan Sugar Mills.

He submitted that the trial court allowed an application of Shehbaz Sharif for permanent exemption from appearance in his absence. He contended that as per law, it was mandatory that the accused should appear in person for such a relief.

He submitted that the trial court allowed Shehbaz’s plea for permanent exemption in violation of the law. He pleaded with the court for setting aside the orders of the trial court in this regard.

The court asked the prosecutor to inform whether the trial could continue in absence of the accused or not. Subsequently, the court issued notice to Shehbaz Sharif for March 24 and sought reply while adjourning further hearing.

Online adds: The National Accountability Bureau has decided to close investigation of allotment of 12 plots against former Chief Minister (CM) Punjab and PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif.

 It was decided in the regional board meeting of NAB that there are no evidences found of involvement of Shehbaz Sharif, therefore investigations should be stopped. A recommendation to stop inquiry against Shehbaz Sharif has been sent to Chairman NAB.

The Joint Investigation Team investigating inquiry against Shehbaz Sharif took the plea that several people nominated in the inquiry have passed away.

The prosecution wing said that Mian Atta Ullah and Mian Raza Atta Ullah who were nominated in the inquiry had passed away while there are no solid evidences found of involvement of Shehbaz Sharif in the case. Inquiry against former Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif was pending for the last 20 years pertaining to allotment of 12 plots to his favorite persons. Inquiry was ordered against Shehbaz Sharif, his Secretary Javed Mehmood, Mian Atta Ullah, Mian Raza and others. Lahore NAB had initiated inquiry against Shehbaz Sharif and others in 2000.

Lahore Development Authority (LDA) had acquired the land of Mozu Nawan Kot for Gulshan Ravi Society in 1978 and it was to provide plots of 10 Marla’s. According to NAB, plots of 1-Kanal were given to favuorite persons against law. When NAB had started investigation then orders were issued for alleged cancellation of plots.