Pakistan’s opposition leader and former chief minister of eastern Punjab province Shahbaz Sharif was arrested here Friday afternoon by the country’s anti-graft body in an alleged corruption case, an official statement said.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) said that Shahbaz, the opposition leader in the National Assembly or the lower house of the parliament, was arrested for his alleged misappropriations in Ashiana Housing Scheme in Lahore during his tenure as the Punjab chief minister from 2013 to 2018.

The NAB had launched a probe into the scandal after the housing scheme for poor people failed due to alleged corruption.

The NAB said that Shahbaz, who is the younger brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and president of the opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), will be presented before the accountability court on Saturday.

Senior advocate of Supreme Court of Pakistan Shahzad Akbar told local media that the law allows the NAB to seek 90-day detention of Shahbaz for further investigation.

Earlier in the day, Shahbaz appeared before the NAB authorities to record his statement in the scam, but he was detained after he failed to satisfy the Combined Investigation Team of the bureau with his answers to the queries, local media reported.

The accountability watchdog had alleged that Shahbaz had misused his authority during his tenure as Punjab’s chief minister and was involved in corruption by providing contracts on high rates to unqualified companies of his friends, the reports said.

The NAB has already arrested several close aids of Shahbaz in connection with the corruption scandal.

Rana Sana Ullah, a senior leader of the PML-N, termed the arrest as a political victimization, saying that they will use their legal rights to defend their leader as there are no solid proofs against him.

Shahbaz Sharif has been facing several other cases, including the clean water project scam, model town police encounter incident and the stablishment of 56 companies in Punjab allegedly owned by his close friends.


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