ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Tuesday maintained PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s bail as the National Accountability Bureau took back its application seeking cancellation of his bail in Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khan Khosa heard NAB appeals against Lahore High Court’s judgment and disposed of the appeals by accepting NAB prosecutor’s plea to withdraw the same.

The bench said the Supreme Court had already declared that high court judgments on bail matters were of tentative nature and would not prejudice merit of the case.

During the hearing, at the end of his arguments, NAB’s Special Prosecutor Naeem Bukhari, instead of pressing for cancellation of ex-CM Punjab’s bail, said that paras 8 & 9 of Lahore High Court judgment be expunged as those contained observation regarding the NAB.

The NAB had challenged LHC order dated 14th February in Ashiana Iqbal to allow post-arrest bails to Shehbaz Sharif and Fawad Hassan Fawad, the then secretary (implementation) to CM Punjab.

During proceedings, the chief justice, without calling name of Shehbaz Sharif, said the accused of this case was strange who himself set up committee to inquire into the illegality in Ashiana Iqbal and then referred it to anti-corruption establishment for further probe.

Justice Khosa observed that former chief minister seemed to be good person, adding in this case many persons had been languishing in jail. The former CM prevented loss of thousands of applicants of housing scheme.

When asked by chief justice that whether the project had been materialized, Naeem Bukhari said it was not started so far. The chief justice said how a case was made about damage which was not caused.

Earlier, Naeem Bukhari argued that Shehbaz Sharif entrusted the project to LDA in order to award the contract of Ashiana Iqbal project to M/S Paragon Housing City (Pvt) Limited with active connivance of his close aide accused Ahad Cheema, the then LDA DG.

The NAB maintained that Shehbaz Sharif time and again usurped the powers of PLDC Board to ensure that the project was being undertaken as per his desires and contract was awarded to his favourite bidder. In December 2013, the PLDC had initiated the bidding process for infrastructure development of Ashiana Iqbal.

The NAB claimed that Fawad received illegal pecuniary benefit of Rs55 million from accused Kamran Kayani, Owner of M/s Conpro Service (Pvt) Ltd. The Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) had awarded the contract to the lowest bidder i.e. Chaudhry A Latif and Sons.

Meanwhile, bench granted bail to Munir Zia, one of the directors of Bismillah Engineering. The court, however, dismissed Fawad Hassan Fawad post-arrest bail in Rs5 billion plaza case, as his counsel withdrew the petition to avoid Supreme Court observation that may prejudice his case before the Accountability Court.