LAHORE    -    Former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s principal secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad, and other suspects of Ashiyana scheme scam appeared before an accountability court on Wednesday.

Authorities have stepped up security outside the judicial complex. After some proceedings the matter was adjourned for August 7.

Shehbaz rejected all allegations against him and said the case was just waste of time. He argued that it was the PML-N government that had unearth the fraud.

However, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor urged the court to continue proceedings as “Shehbaz Sharif has been wasting court’s time.”

During the previous hearing, Shehbaz’s defence counsel had cross-examined witness Sidra Mansoor and questioned on whose directives she had produced the record.

To this, she answered that the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) had asked her about the record.

The defence counsel asked her whether the in-charge [of the SECP] had given her any written directives over the matter.

She responded that in-charge Liaquat Ali had given her verbal directives, and the same record, which was submitted with NAB, was presented in the court. She said she had been included in the investigation process on May 30, 2018. On February 18, the court of Syed Najmul Hassan had indicted 10 suspects including Shehbaz in the case. All the accused rejected the charges. The PML-N president had sworn that the case against him was false.

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