Pakistan anti-graft body arrests opposition leader over scam

Hugh Fox
October 8, 2018

Friday's arrest of Shehbaz Sharif by agents of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Lahore involved a case of alleged corruption in a low-priced housing scheme when Sharif was chief minister of Punjab province.

Almost three weeks after his release from jail, the supreme leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is set to resume political activities from Monday (today) by presiding over an "emergency meeting" of the party's Central Executive Committee (CEC) in Lahore.

He had reportedly appeared for a routine hearing of the Saaf Pani case - another major scandal against the PML-N leadership - when NAB officials arrested him in connection with the housing scam. "Shahbaz Sharif's arrest just before by-elections is unacceptable", she said.

However, Sharif's counsel, Azam Nazir Tarar said his client was remanded in custody for 10 days to be interrogated.

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"We will prove that allegations against Shahbaz Sharif are baseless", he said. He is accused of violating the Punjab Procurement Regularity Authority (PPRA) rules in the award of contracts in the Saaf Pani Company affairs.

Earlier, hundreds of angry PML-N supporters created a ruckus in the premises of the court in Lahore and stopped the armoured vehicle of the police in which Shehbaz Sharif was brought to the court.

The National Accountability Bureau in a statement Friday said it arrested Sharif after questioning him for several hours at its office in Lahore, the capital of the eastern province of Punjab. They were holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans against the arrest of party president Shahbaz Sharif.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday is chairing a Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Lahore.

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Nawaz Sharif has denounced corruption cases against him and his party's leaders as politically motivated, and both brothers deny any wrongdoing. "PTI is responsible for this political victimisation and should be ready to reap what it is sowing today", he said. Shehbaz Sharif is being probed in other corruption cases as well.

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

Previously, on october 14 Pakistan's Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Sharif was convicted for owning expensive properties in London.

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