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Shahbaz to face reference on Ramzan sugar mills affairs

LAHORE: The National Accounta­bility Bureau (NAB) told an accountability court on Friday that a reference regarding the Ramzan Sugar Mills (RSM) was being prepared against Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and would soon be filed.

NAB claims that Mr Sharif, being chief minister of Punjab, had issued a directive for the construction of a drain in Chiniot district primarily to benefit the sugar mills owned by his sons. It said Rs200 million was spent for this purpose from public money. NAB had already filed a reference against Mr Sharif and others in the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam.

Hearing the RSM case, Judge Syed Najamul Hassan took notice of the absence of Mr Sharif and asked a NAB prosecutor to explain the situation. The prosecutor told the court that Mr Sharif had been in Islamabad on transit remand since Dec 12 as the NA speaker had issued his production order for the attendance of the assembly’s session and meetings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

NAB claims PML-N leader misused his authority as chief minister of Punjab to benefit factories owned by his sons

“If this is the situation, why didn’t you get his transit remand extended from the court?” the judge asked the prosecutor and also summoned the superintendent of the Kot Lakhpat jail.

After a while, the superintendent app­ear­ed in court and stated that Mr Sharif was detained in a sub-jail that fell within the domain of Rawalpindi jail. He said the police force sought for the production of Mr Sharif was not provided to the jail. The superintendent said a letter was written to SP headquarters Iqrar Shah for the provision of the force. The letter was answered with an excuse of shortage of police force, he added.

Advocate Amjad Pervez, the counsel for Mr Sharif, stated that Islamabad police was supposed to produce his client in court. However, the judge observed that it was the responsibility of Lahore police to produce Mr Sharif for the extension of transit remand. The counsel pointed out that a medical board had advised Mr Sharif one-week rest in the light of his MRI test report.

The judge adjourned the hearing of the case till Jan 10 and also issued a show-cause notice to the SP headquarters.

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