LAHORE - An accountability court Monday sent former director general of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Ahad Cheema and Bismillah Engineering’s proprietor Shahid Shafiq Faridi to jail on 15-day judicial remand in Ashiana-i-Iqbal housing scheme case.

At the outset of court proceedings, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials produced the suspects before AC Judge Syed Najamul Hassan on expiry of their physical remand.

The NAB investigating officer submitted that Ahad Cheema had spent 90 days in physical custody.

Since the accused had acquired many assets which needed to be probed, therefore, the court should grant further physical remand of the suspect for investigation, he added.

The defence counsel opposed the request and asked the court to send the accused to jail on judicial remand.  The court accepted the request of the defence counsel and sent the accused to jail on judicial remand.

The NAB alleged that Ahad Cheema misused his authority as LDA director general and awarded a contract of Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme to Lahore Casa Developers, a joint venture of three companies M/s Bismillah Engineering Services, M/s SPARCO Construction Company and M/s China First Metallurgical Group Company Ltd, which was ineligible for the purpose. It was claimed that Ahad Cheema also received illegal gratification in the form of 32-kanal land from one of the shareholder companies of the joint venture.

Anti-Judiciary rally case

An anti-terrorism court Monday allowed pre-arrest bail to two PML-N parliamentarians, post-arrest bail to 32 and rejected bail plea of five others for allegedly taking out a rally against the judiciary and using derogatory language against the judges of the superior courts. The ATC-III judge Javed Iqbal Warraich took up the matter moved by the accused group hailing from the ruling party.  PML-N’s MNA Wasim Akhtar Sheikh and MPA Naeem Safdar appeared before the court along with their counsel.

  Deputy Public Prosecutor Abdul Rauf Wattoo told the court that the suspects had held a protest rally at Kashmir Chowk, Kasur against the judiciary and attempted to incite the people against the state institution. He said the suspects did not deserve the concession of bail. The prosecution also presented case record of 32 suspects. However, the counsels of the accused opposed the arguments of the prosecution saying that case against their clients was a conspiracy.  They submitted that police inserted Section 7 of Anti Terrorism Act 1997 in the case within malafide intention. They asked the court to order the police to delete the terrorism provision from the case.  A video went viral on the social media in April showing the suspects taking out a rally in Kasur and using derogatory remarks against the judges of the superior courts.  The police booked 80 persons in the case under Section 166, 506, 341, 228, 109, 147 and 149 of Pakistan Penal Code and inserted Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act. Six accused including MNA Wasim Akhtar and MPA Naeem Safdar were identified as members of the ruling party PML-N.

Action against lawyers

Punjab Bar Council on Monday cancelled licences of 16 fake lawyers, suspended licence of four and banned entry of 20 others.

Punjab Bar Council’s Anti-Corruption Committee Chairman passed the order.  Ufaq Gillani, Imran Ishtiaq and others are among the fake lawyers. Ufaq Gillani, Imran Ishtiaq and others among those whose license have been cancelled while Ali Asghar, Malik Tanwa, Qamar Javed and others are those whose licences have been suspended.

Committee Chairman Munir Hussain Bhatti said action was taken against over 600 fake lawyers.  He said the record of law graduates had been sought from all law colleges of Punjab. He said the entire lawyers community was standing with them for taking action against the fake lawyers.