NAB challenges Shehbaz Sharif’s bail in the Ashiana Housing case

The National Accountability Bureau challenged the bail of former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif in the Ashiana housing scheme case on Monday. The petition seeks the Supreme Court to overturn the bail granted by the Lahore High Court.

On March 14, NAB had already moved the apex court against Shehbaz’s bail granted by LHC in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case. NAB special prosecutor Akram Qureshi filed the application.

The bureau also requested the top court to cancel the bail of Fawad Hassan Fawad, the former principal secretary of ex-PM Nawaz Sharif, in the Ashiana housing scheme case. Shehbaz and Fawad are key accused in the case.

Related: Shehbaz Sharif granted bail in three NAB cases by the Lahore High Court

LHC didn’t review the facts properly, argued the petitioner. The LHC’s decision stands in opposition to the standards set by the apex court, hence it should be annulled, the petition said.

“The Supreme Court had already outlined criteria for the bail provision in the NAB cases,” the petition said.

On February 14, Shehbaz’s bail plea was approved by the province’s top court. A two-judge LHC bench, comprising Justice Malik Shahzad and Justice Mirza Waqas, heard the bail petitions.

Related: I never availed the CM’s privileges nor do I want them: Shehbaz Sharif

On February 21, LHC issued a 22-page verdict in the Ashiana housing case and a 20-page ruling in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case. The court said it found Sharif in the clear as no charge of financial irregularity was proved against him.

The Ashiana Iqbal Housing scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases against Shehbaz and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz are pending before a Lahore’s accountability court. Now, the next hearing of the case is on March 27. In the previous hearing, Shehbaz and Hamza couldn’t be indicted owing to the judge’s absence on Saturday.

On October 5 last year, the NAB Lahore took Shehbaz Sharif into custody in connection with the Ashiana Housing case. He was charged with misuse of authority that caused a loss to the exchequer and deprived 61,000 applicants of houses.

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