Shehbaz Sharif, 10 others acquitted in Ashiana Housing scam 

Shehbaz Sharif, 10 others acquitted in Ashiana Housing scam 

Lahore: (Web Desk): An accountability court in Lahore on Saturday acquitted former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and former premier Shehbaz Sharif and others in the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme case.

Judge Ali Zulqurnain announced the verdict acquitting Shehbaz and 10 others, including incumbent federal minister Ahad Cheema and Fawad Hassan Fawad.

On November 2, the court had reserved the verdict after concluding the final arguments presented by the counsels and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutors on acquittal pleas.

The court in its verdict said that allegations of corruption against Shehbaz Sharif, Ahad Khan Cheema and others could not be proved, pointing out that the anti-graft watchdog cleared all accused.

It added that the accused did not find evidence of corruption against the accused, the accused should be acquitted.

In a report filed in May, the anti-graft body had informed the court that it had found no evidence of financial corruption or misuse of authority by Shehbaz Sharif.

The report stated that the allegations of misuse of authority and corruption against the former prime minister were not substantiated under the National Accountability Ordinance of 1999.

NAB had filed the reference in 2018, alleging that Shehbaz and other accused had caused a massive financial loss to the national kitty by awarding the contract to a construction firm without a competitive bidding process.

The PML-N president was arrested on October 5, 2018 while Ahad Cheema was taken into custody on February 21 of the same year. Later, both of them were released on bail.