LAHORE - An accountability court on Wednesday allowed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to freeze the assets belonging to Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and nine of his family members.

As per the accountability bureau, at least 23 properties have been found under the name of Shehbaz, his wives and his sons in various parts of the country.

Special Judge Accountability Court Chaudhry Amir Muhammad Khan passed the orders on the 15 requests made by NAB Lahore to freeze the assets of Shehbaz, who is also President of PML-N and former Punjab Chief Minister, and his family members.

During the hearing the court was told by the NAB representative that “Investigation against Shehbaz Sharif and his family are underway with regards to assets beyond income case and money laundering.”

NAB Special Prosecutor Hafiz Asadullah Awan further said that Shehbaz had made properties worth billions of rupees through money laundering. Therefore, he requested, assets of Shehbaz, his wives and his sons be confiscated.

In July, 2019, the NAB Lahore moved to get frozen all the movable and immovable properties owned by Shehbaz Sharif, his sons Hamza and Suleman and other family members with regard to an investigation against Sharif family in the income-beyond-means and money laundering case.

The investigation was launched after a report published in a UK-based newspaper.

The news report had alleged that Shehbaz Sharif during his tenure as the then Punjab Chief Minister had embezzled the grant provided by British government for the relief activities after the 2005 earthquake in the country.

As per the NAB, they own Ramzan Sugar Mills, European-Asian Trading Corporation (Pvt) Ltd, Madina Trading (Pvt) Ltd, Sharif Mills (Pvt) Ltd, Madina Construction Company (Pvt) Ltd, Sharif Poultry Farms (Pvt) Ltd and Sharif Dairy Farms (Pvt) Ltd. Hamza Shahbaz’s properties include four residential plots in the Judicial Employees Cooperative Housing Society. These plots are of each one kanal and five marlas, one kanal and four marlas, one kanal and seven marlas and one kanal and eight marlas.

As per the NAB, three properties in Haripur owned by Shehbaz’s wife Tehmina Durrani have been identified.

NAB has also identified two residential properties of Shehbaz Sharif that are in the name of his other wife Nusrat in Model Town (96 and 87 H-Block). Her 9-kanal house in Murree’s Dounga Gali was also attached.

NAB has also marked four Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs owned by Shehbaz as case property.

The bureau alleges that Shehbaz Sharif and his sons Hamza and Suleman had accumulated assets worth Rs3 billion that were beyond their known sources of income.

NAB also alleges that the accused have mentioned foreign remittances worth Rs1.3 billion so as to justify the acquisition of assets.

It further alleges that most of the remittances were fictitious and the process of remittances was used for laundering the assets that are disproportionate to their known sources of income.

On the other side, the PML-N thinks that the PTI government has no other way than to victimise Shebaz Sharif so as to divert people’s attention away from their failures in the govt.