LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of post-arrest bail petitions filed by Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif until today (Wednesday).

A two-judge bench consisting of Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad and Justice Mirza Waqas heard the bail petitions.

NAB’s Special Prosecutor Akram Qureshi in his arguments said that a nullah to drain out the contaminated water from the Ramzan Sugar Mills was constructed at a cost Rs213 million from the national exchequer.

He also informed the court that Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz is also an accused in the reference but the NAB had not issued his arrest warrants as he was cooperating with the bureau in the investigation.

The prosecutor said that the NAB issues arrest warrants of an accused only on his non-cooperation in the investigation.

On the other side, the defence counsel in his arguments said the nullah was constructed to benefit seven adjoining localities of the area, not the sugar mills. He contended that the NAB had the reference filed against his client was politically motivated.

Defence counsel Azam Nazir Tarar also contended that his client had been nominated in the Paragon Housing City scam case despite the fact that he had nothing to do with the issue.

He added that there were no statements against Mr Shahbaz in the reference, yet he had been on physical remand for 50 days. He said, “Even terrorists are not sent on remand for so long period. On the other side, NAB is not even submitting a reply.”

Shehbaz is charged with misuse of authority by unlawfully assuming powers of the board of directors of the Punjab Land Deve­lopment Company (PLDC). He is also charged with awarding a contract to an ineligible proxy company. It had allegedly resulted in the failure of the Ashiyana housing scheme and a huge loss to the national exchequer besides depriving 61,000 applicants of residences.

On October 6, the accountability watchdog had arrested the PML-N president in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case and he has been in judicial remand in jail.

The court on December 6 last year denied the NAB request for extension of physical remand of the accused who had been kept in custody by the NAB for 62 days after his apprehension on Oct 5, 2018.

The court after completion of the arguments from both the sides adjourned the hearing until tomorrow.

The court also asked the lawyer of Fawad Hassan Fawad to advance arguments today.

Last Monday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice had rejected a NAB plea objecting the formation of an LHC’s bench which heard the post-arrest bail pleas filed by Shehbaz Sharif yesterday.

LHC Chief Justice Sardar Mehmood Shamim Khan announced the verdict on the admissibility of the petitions, and rejected the NAB’s petition seeking transfer of the bail pleas of the PML-N leader to another division bench.