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Ashiana housing scam: NAB likely to file reference against Shehbaz on Nov 24

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LAHORE:  National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has prepared reference against four suspects including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly (NA) Shehbaz Sharif in a case pertaining to Ashiana Housing scam.

NAB is likely to file the reference on November 24 in accountability court. The anti-graft watchdog’s team briefed NAB chairman Justice (retd.) Javed Iqbal about the reference.

NAB has accused Shehbaz Sharif of benefiting private individuals while misusing his authority.

It has been written in the reference that during his tenure as Chief Minister, Sharif illegally used the powers of PLDC board of directors.

In order to provide illegal profit to his desired company, the former CM allegedly cancelled the contract of the other coming on merit while collaborating with Fawad Hassan Fawad, says the reference.

NAB sources say that Shehbaz Sharif directed to transfer the contract of Ashiana project from PLDC to Lahore Development Authority (LDA) which was being headed by Ahad Khan Cheema.

In this way, as per public partnership the contract was awarded to Bismillah Engineering which is a proxy company of Paragon.

Thus, all the illegal steps were taken to benefit the preferred companies.


Shehbaz Sharif’s arrest


NAB had arrested Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam on October 5. The former chief minister was charged with awarding illegal contracts to his favorite firm.

He was apprehended during his appearance before NAB in Saaf Pani Company scam. Sources told that three files were tabled before him. The bureau quizzed Sharif regarding a tender awarded to a private consultancy company for a survey of the Saaf Pani company.

The PML-N president had failed to satisfy the probing team of the bureau during the investigation and was ultimately arrested.

The anti-graft 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.

The anti-graft agency said 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”.

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