Accountability court on Friday has accepted Opposition Leader in National Assembly (NA) Shehbaz Sharif’s plea seeking permanent exemption from the hearing of Ashiana Housing and Ramzan Sugar Mills references.

During the proceedings, the lawyer of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president has submitted exemption plea in the court and told that his client is unable to attend the hearings as he is in London.

Subsequently, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court has granted permanent exemption to Shehbaz Sharif and adjourned the hearing.  

On October 5, 2018, NAB had arrested Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam for awarding illegal contracts to his favorite firm. However, in February 2019, he was granted bail by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

The anti-corruption watchdog had claimed that the company did not conduct any kind of survey but nevertheless was provided a lucrative sum of Rs 1.5 billion.

Ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s principal secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad became an approver in the case.

Fawad Hassan Fawad, in his statement before NAB, had claimed that he had awarded a contract to a “favourite firm” in the Rs14 billion Ashiana Housing project at the behest of Shahbaz Sharif.

NAB stated that the contract for the housing scheme was won by a construction company titled Chaudhry Latif and Sons but Sharif cancelled it and later on, awarded the contract to Lahore Casa Developers – a proxy group of Paragon City (Pvt) Limited, which is said to be owned by ex-Railways Minister Saad Rafique”.