An accountability court in Lahore on Saturday granted 10-day physical remand of PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case.

Earlier today, the former chief minister of Punjab and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif was presented before the Accountability Court in Lahore on Saturday morning by NAB.

The leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, who was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday in the Ashiana Iqbal housing scheme case, was brought to the Accountability Court in an armoured vehicle. The security squad that escorted Shehbaz included a fire brigade vehicle, an ambulance and police mobiles.

Shehbaz will be produced before Accountability Court Judge Najmul Hasan shortly. He will be represented by Azam Nazeer Tarar and Amjad Pervez.

The PML-N president's sons, Hamza and Salman Shehbaz, are the only ones who have been allowed entry inside the court premises.

Meanwhile, PML-N leaders Marriyum Aurangzeb, Khurram Dastgir and Saira Afzal Tarrar are present outside the court as they were not granted entry.

Several PML-N workers have gathered outside the Accountability Court and have been chanting slogans in favour of the party president. On Shehbaz's arrival, the workers climbed up on the armoured vehicle.

Contingents of police, including anti-riot force, have been deployed around the Accountability Court and roads leading to it have also been blocked.

According to sources, the entry of unrelated persons and media coverage have been barred inside the Accountability Court.

According to NAB sources, a medical examination of Shehbaz was conducted before taking him to the Accountability Court and he was declared fit.

Shehbaz was arrested when he appeared before NAB to record his statement in the Punjab Saaf Pani Company case on October 5. 

“The National Accountability Bureau Lahore has arrested former Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the Ashiana housing scheme case. NAB will produce Shehbaz Sharif in an accountability court tomorrow [Saturday],” a press statement issued by the anti-graft body said.

According to sources, Shehbaz was arrested after Fawad Hasan Fawad, the then implementation secretary, told NAB that he carried out corrupt activities in projects in Punjab on orders from Shehbaz, who was the chief minister then.

NAB had also received information from Fawad Hasan’s laptop, from which data was retrieved after his arrest.

In the investigation that followed, Fawad and Shehbaz appeared together, during which the latter said he would bring proof. Subsequently, NAB granted time to Shehbaz to gather proof, but he could not produce anything. Therefore, the anti-graft body summoned him today in the Saaf Pani Company case, which is one of the 56 companies being investigated.

However, Shehbaz was arrested for alleged corruption in Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case, in which former Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique are also involved and have been summoned on October 16.

Sources said the arrest of Rafique and his brother have also been summoned in the case.

While speaking to the media outside the Accountability Court, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said Shehbaz’s arrest is the worst form of political victimisation.

"He was asked to appear before NAB and record his statement in the Saaf Pani Company case but was arrested in Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case," she added.

"Not even corruption of Rs1 could be proved against the PML-N president," she added.

Stating that PTI is resorting to such tactics as they could not "defeat PML-N in the political arena", Aurangzeb said, "We will not accept revenge in the name of accountability."