LAHORE: National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif skipped an appearance before an accountability court in the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam.
However, co-accused former principal secretary to Prime Minister of Pakistan Fawad Hassan Fawad, former DG Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Ahad Khan Cheema and Shahid Shafiq were present on the occasion.
The defence counsel informed the court that Shehbaz could not appear for the hearing due to back pain. The doctors had advised him to rest, he added. The court exempted him from the hearing on medical grounds. The statements of three eyewitnesses could also not be recorded due to the ongoing traders’ strike in the city.
The court granted an extension to the judicial remand of the co-accused persons till July 24 and adjourned the hearing till the same date.
On Friday, Shehbaz had skipped an appearance before a NAB investigation team in the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) corruption scam. Citizens faced a lot of nuisance due to security and traffic arrangements on the occasion. City Traffic Police set diversions at PMG Chowk, MAO College Chowk, Church Chowk to Secretariat. The traffic from these points was diverted to nearby roads. The citizens had to either travel on foot to reach the secretariat or court or travel long distances to move towards their destination.
Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam
The project was a subsidised housing scheme based on public-private partnership and initiated by the Punjab government when Shehbaz Sharif was the chief minister.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2019.