LAHORE (Muslim Times) – A two-member team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday escorted Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif to the Parliament House for session.
While addressing the House, Shehbaz Sharif said, “NA Speaker Asad Qaisar dispensed constitutional duty by issuing production orders for me so I am thankful to him for rising above party politics.”
“It is first time in political history that an opposition leader has been arrested in ungraceful way, however, I would not discuss merit of NAB case against me,” he added.
Former Punjab Chief Minister criticized Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan and termed him as a product of rigged elections. He claimed, “My arrest was aimed at getting desired results in the by-polls.
“Seats vacated by Imran Khan have been won by PML-N in by-elections,” he added.
While adding that the accountability bureau is targeting opposition parties, he asserted that NAB and Imran Khan are hands in glove.
Speaking about Ashiana Housing Scheme, he said, “I am charged with cajoling former Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani.”
“I am charged with awarding Ashiana Housing Scheme contract to Kamran Kiyani but the reality is that Pervaiz Musharraf and Pervez Elahi government gave the contract to Kamran Kiyani and I canceled it.”
“NAB has charged me not with corruption but exceeding powers in Ashiana Housing Scheme,” he added.
He said, “NAB summoned me to question about Saaf Pani Case, but arrested me in Ashiana Housing case. NAB has studied the whole case but feigned ignorance about the facts.”
The opposition leader said that “I saved national money, I have offered blood, toil, tears and sweat for development of Punjab and will continue serving Pakistan till I breathe my last.”
He said, “Nawaz Sharif accomplished cheap electricity projects and PML-N government initiated first Solid Waste Management Project.”
Shehbaz Sharif concluded his speech by criticizing PM’s slogan ‘Naya Pakistan’. He said, “Is this the change which has deprived the poor of daily meals.”
Earlier, an accountability court in Lahore had extended Shehbaz physical remand to the anti-graft watchdog for 14 days after his previous 10-day remand ended on October 16.
On Tuesday, the opposition leader appeared in the court amid strict security arrangements where he claimed innocence in a graft case pertaining to the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing scheme.
Shehbaz maintained he himself ordered investigation into corruption allegations in the housing scheme and denies awarding contracts to a favorite firm.
He was arrested on Oct 5 after appearing before the NAB team in Saaf Paani Company scheme. NAB said Shehbaz failed to satisfy the investigation team regarding a tender awarded to a private consultancy firm and was therefore arrested.
The anti-graft watchdog said the firm did not conduct any kind of survey but nevertheless was provided a lucrative sum of 1.5 billion rupees. It added that Fawad Hassan Fawad, the principal secretary of former premier Nawaz Sharif, had become an approver in the case.
Fawad, in his statement, had claimed that he had awarded a contract to a “favourite firm” in the Rs14 billion Ashiana Housing project at the behest of Shehbaz 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 former Railways minister Saad Rafique.