Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif has on Wednesday filed a petition in an accountability court in Lahore seeking exemption from appearance in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing reference.

Incarcerated former premier Nawaz Sharif’s principal secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad, who had become approver in the case, and other suspects were produced before the court by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

“This case is wastage of time as our [PML-N’s] government had caught this fraud [related to the housing scheme],” Shehbaz Sharif had said during the previous hearing.

Contrarily, the NAB prosecutor had pleaded with the court to proceed with the case as “Shehbaz Sharif has been wasting court’s time.”

On February 18, accountability court Judge Syed Najmul Hassan had indicted ten suspects including Shehbaz Sharif in the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing scam case.

All the accused rejected the charges. The PML-N president had sworn to the Almighty that the case against him was false and affirmed to bring facts in front of the nation.

Fawad Hassan Fawad, in his statement before the accountability watchdog, had claimed that he had awarded a contract to a “favourite firm” in the Ashiana Housing project at the behest of Shehbaz Sharif.

On October 5, 2018, the NAB had arrested Shehbaz Sharif in the scam and was charged with awarding illegal contracts to his favorite firm.

He was apprehended during his appearance before NAB in Saaf Pani Company scam. Sources told that three files were tabled before him. The bureau quizzed Sharif regarding a tender awarded to a private consultancy company for a survey of the Saaf Pani company.

On February 15, LHC had ordered to release Shehbaz Sharif after approving his bail plea.

The NAB in the reference alleged that Mr Sharif being the chief minister of Punjab misused his authority by unlawfully assuming powers of Board of Directors of PLDC. It said he in connivance with his co-suspects awarded contract to an ineligible proxy firm that resulted in failure of Ashiana housing scheme causing a huge loss to public exchequer.