SC NAB ruling delays verdict on Shehbaz’s acquittal plea in Ashiana case
By News Desk
November 7, 2023 10:50 AM
Accountability court defers announcement of reserved verdict: Says it will pronounce verdict after interpretation of Supreme Court decision in NAB amendments case
An accountability court in Lahore on Tuesday deferred the announcement of its reserved verdict on the acquittal applications by former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, former Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general Ahad Khan Cheema, and others in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme reference, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Tuesday.
The acquittal applications stated that all the witnesses had retracted their statements. This change in testimony, the petitioners claimed, made it impossible to secure a conviction in the case. As a result, the applicants requested the court to grant their applications for acquittal.
In May, the NAB declared Shehbaz Sharif "innocent" in a reference filed against him in an accountability court in 2018 for his alleged misuse of authority in executing a low-cost housing scheme during his stint as Punjab chief minister.
In its report, the NAB said it found “no evidence” of corruption in the contract of the scheme—the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Society—launched in 2010 in Lahore.
In today’s court proceedings, the accountability court said that it would announce its reserved verdict in the case after the interpretation of the Supreme Court decision which struck down some of the amendments made to the National Accountability Ordinance by the parliament.
The court also sought arguments by the lawyers and NAB prosecutor on the Supreme Court decision.
However, the NAB prosecutor contested that the SC decision did not impact this case. He said that the apex court ruling only applied to those cases which were restored by the anti-graft watchdog.
Reporter Jamaluddin Jamali