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SC puts off case after Shahbaz’s counsel faints during hearing

Updated May 16, 2019

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Ahstar Ausaf served as the Attorney General for Pakistan during the previous government. ─ DawnNewsTV/File
Ahstar Ausaf served as the Attorney General for Pakistan during the previous government. ─ DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednes­day adjourned the hearing against former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif in the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Hous­ing Scheme scam case after his counsel, Ashtar Ausaf, fainted during the proceedings.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed was hearing an appeal filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the release of Shahbaz Sharif and others on bail by the Lahore High Court.

Mr Ausaf fainted during arguments in the case. The hearing was stopped and Dr Yasir of the Supreme Court was called to provide treatment to him. Later, he was taken to Polyclinic. After providing first aid there, he was shifted to the Rawal­pindi Institute of Cardio­logy.

A doctor was called to provide treatment to Ashtar Ausaf who was first taken to Polyclinic and later shifted to Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology

Justice Azmat Saeed inquired after Mr Ausaf’s health and adjourned all cases being heard in Court No 2. The contempt of court case against Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid was also adjourned.

Mr Ausaf served as the Attorney General for Pakistan during the previous government.

NAB had claimed on Tuesday to have irrefutable evidence to link Shahbaz Sharif, former principal secretary to then prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad and former director general of the Lahore Development Authority Ahad Cheema in the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Hous­ing Scheme scam.

Shahbaz Sharif was taken into custody on Oct 5 last year by the Lahore NAB in connection with the Ashiyana housing case. He is accused of unlawfully assuming powers of the board of directors of the Punjab Land Development Company and awarding a contract to an ineligible proxy firm that resulted in the failure of the housing scheme.

According to allegations, the scam caused a big loss to the public exchequer and deprived 61,000 applicants of the houses.

On Feb 14, the LHC released Shahbaz Sharif on bail.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2019