Shahbaz to return after Eid, lawyer tells accountability court

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif will return after Eidul Fitr, his counsel told an accountability court in Lahore on Saturday.

During the hearing of Ramzan Sugar Mills and Ashiana Housing Scheme corruption cases, in which the PML-N president is a chief suspect, the court directed Shahbaz’s counsel to give the court a “final date” of his return by May 28.

Shahbaz’s lawyer told the court that he will be back after Eidul Fitr as he has an appointment with his doctor in Pakistan on June 7. The opposition leader had gone to London for a “quick visit” over a month ago to meet his grandchildren and to undergo a medical checkup and has not returned since.

In today’s proceedings, judge Jawadul Hasan demanded evidence to justify Shahbaz’s visit to London.

Shahbaz’s lawyer insisted that doctors in Pakistan had suggested the PML-N president to go to London for medical treatment.

“He is not asking for a permanent exemption, it’s just a matter of two weeks,” the lawyer said.

He pointed out that despite Shahbaz’s absence the trial of the case had not stopped. National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua complained that even though the rest of the suspects named in the references were present before the court, the trial was not progressing due to Shahbaz’s absence.

Janjua further said that the former Punjab chief minister had not taken the court’s permission before leaving.

The hearing was adjourned until May 28.

In the Ashiyana housing scam, Shahbaz Sharif is accused of ordering the cancellation of a contract given to successful bidder Chaudhry Latif and Sons for the low-cost housing scheme, which led to the subsequent award of the contract to Lahore Casa Developers, a proxy group of Paragon City Private Limited, resulting in a loss of Rs193 million.

In the Ramzan Sugar Mills corruption case, Shahbaz and his son Hamza Shahbaz are accused of “fraudulently and dishonestly” causing a Rs213 million loss to the national exchequer.

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