LAHORE  -  An accountability court on Thursday extended the judicial remand of PML-N former railways minister Kh awaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique in Paragon City scam.

The court of Syed Jawadul Hassan conducted the proceedings in the absence of Khawaja Saad but his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique was presented before the court.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials replied to a court query that Saad was in Islamabad to attend an NA session. An application was also submitted on his behalf for exemption from personal appearance.

When the court further asked about filing a reference against the accused, the officer said the reference had been sent to NAB chairman for approval.

The court then directed the NAB officer to file final investigation report as soon as possible, and extended the judicial remand of the Khawaja brothers until May 30. The post arrest bail petitions of the Khawaja brothers, who were arrested on Dec 11, 2018, were pending before a Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench. They were arrested as an LHC division bench had dismissed their pre-arrest bail petitions.

The NAB has accused the Khawaja brothers of launching Paragon City housing project through their “benamidars”. It alleges that the Paragon City was an illegal society and not approved by the Lahore Development Authority.

It further accused the PML-N leaders and their other accomplices of cheating the public at large and obtaining illegal financial benefits from funds of the society.

Talking to the media, Salman criticized the current governments’ policies and said that the current government had brought the country to the brink of destruction.

More arguments sought in case against PM

A sessions court adjourned until May 30 a Rs10 billion defamation suit filed by Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Additional Sessions Judge Amjad Khan directed the counsels for both the parties to advance more at the next date of hearing in the case. During the yesterday’s hearing, the counsel for Shehbaz Shairf advanced arguments in favour of his client and requested the court to decree the defamation suit in favour of the PML-N president.

Shehbaz Sharif, who is also PML-N president, had filed the defamation suit against the prime minister over his claim that the last PML-N government had offered the former Rs10 billion bribe to remain silent on Panama Leaks.

The petitioner further says that he was a “highly respectable individual and enjoyed an excellent reputation in both national and international circles with a long and illustrious career in politics and public service to his credit”. He further said that he was “widely known and respected for his credibility, hard work, integrity and competence”.