Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Pak: Shahbaz Sharif held on charges of corruption

Pak: Shahbaz Sharif held on charges of corruption

President Shehbaz Sharif was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday in a Rs 14 billion housing scam case.

Shahbaz - who was taken into custody by the NAB a day earlier - was produced before the accountability court while the watchdog sought his custody.

Sharif, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, was accused by the country's anti-graft body of corruption in the Ashiana Housing case.

For his part, according to local media, Shahbaz told the court Saturday that he didn't do any corruption and demanded an open court trail.

The hearing Saturday was originally scheduled to take place inside the judge's chamber, but was later moved to an open court following PML-N lawyers' protest.

His lawyer said, that the development meant that Sharif would not be able to campaign for his party ahead of crucial by-elections on October 14.

However, the PML-N leaders now claim that due to the "sudden arrest" of his younger brother and former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, the elder Sharif has been forced to jump into the political arena in order to boost the morale of the party workers.

Nawaz Sharif was released from prison last month pending an appeal.

Nawaz Sharif has denounced corruption cases against him and his party's leaders as politically motivated, and both brothers deny any wrongdoing.

Shehbaz Sharif, who also heads the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, is accused of cancelling a housing contract and transferring it to his preferred company for the construction of low-priced houses for the poor and middle-class in Punjab, a stronghold of the party.

Marriyum Aurangzeb, the spokesperson of the Sharif's party linked the arrest to a plan to weaken the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N).

But he missed the general election campaign, which PML-N's leaders maintain was a major reason for the party's defeat.

The sources said the PML-N leaders were also in contact with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and were hopeful of getting a positive response. "PTI is responsible for this political victimisation and should be ready to reap what it is sowing today", he said.

On the other hand, Hamza Shahbaz stated that PML-N would quash "fake mandate" of Imran Khan by sweepings upcoming by-polls.

The by-elections for 11 parliamentary seats and 19 provincial assembly seats.

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