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Shahbaz Sharif's release 'good omen for democracy': Zardari

February 16, 2019

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A file photo of Shahbaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari walking together in the parliament.
A file photo of Shahbaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari walking together in the parliament.

PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday congratulated PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif after the latter was released from the Ministers' Enclave in Islamabad — which had been declared a sub-jail by the capital administration — the evening before.

The PPP leader termed Sharif's release a "good omen for democracy", adding that "it is not reasonable to keep someone in jail merely on the basis of allegations".

Read: Cabinet unhappy over LHC decision of granting Shahbaz bail

The younger Sharif sibling was released on Friday evening after NAB received court orders regarding his release. A day earlier, his request for bail in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases had been granted by the Lahore High Court.

Zardari said "there were no political prisoners during PPP's government" and that the "politics of allegations ends up damaging the country."

The PPP co-chairperson also felicitated PML-N office holders and party workers at Shahbaz's release from detention.

Zardari, who has time and again spoken in defence of the 18th Amendment, reiterated that the said part of the Constitution has "strengthened and stabilised the Constitution".

Furthermore, he vowed to "keep on raising his voice for the supremacy of the parliament."

Sharif was taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore in connection with the Ashiana Housing case on October 5, 2018.

The former Punjab chief minister had been charged with misuse of authority by unlawfully assuming powers of the board of directors of the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC), and awarding a contract to an ineligible proxy firm that resulted in the failure of the housing scheme. The scam caused a loss to the public exchequer and deprived 61,000 applicants of houses.

It is also alleged that Sharif's directive to entrust the project of a housing scheme to the Lahore Development Authority from the PLDC and intervention into affairs of the company was in violation of the Companies Ordinance, Memorandum and Article of Association and Corpo­rate Governance Rules 2013.

NAB had alleged that the former chief minister through his unlawful acts and misuse of authority caused a loss of Rs660 million to the exchequer, while the overall project cost rose to Rs3.39 billion due to his actions.