NAB summons Nawaz in Jang group owner case

Published March 16, 2020
NAB alleges that Nawaz had illegally leased 54-kanal land to Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman. — AP/File
NAB alleges that Nawaz had illegally leased 54-kanal land to Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman. — AP/File

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Sunday summoned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to appear before it on March 20 in the case against Jang group owner Mir Shalikur Rehman.

According to NAB, Nawaz Sharif had illegally leased 54-kanal land to Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman in 1986 and he was summoned to record his statement in the case. Nawaz Sharif is at present in London for treatment after having been granted bail on medical grounds.

Some five days ago, NAB had arrested the Jang group owner in the 34-year-old case relating to the 54-kanal land allegedly acquired illegally during the tenure of then Punjab chief minister Nawaz Sharif.

According to NAB, Mr Rehman has been arrested in connection with “alleged illegal exemption of 54 plots [each measuring one kanal] in H-block of Jauhar Town phase-II allotted to him being the holder of general power of attorney on behalf of Hidayat Ali and Hikmat Ali by the then Punjab chief minister [Nawaz Sharif in 1986] in violation of the relevant laws/rules”.

Mr Rehman was handed over to NAB on 12-day physical remand by an accountability court four days ago. He appeared before a joint investigation team of NAB at its provincial headquarters in Thokar Niaz Beg on Thursday and answered questions for more than two hours. NAB claimed that Mr Rehman was served an arrest warrant after he could not satisfactory answer the probe team’s queries and was detained in the bureau’s lock-up.

NAB sources said that under the Lahore Development Authority’s (LDA) exemption policy, not more than 15 plots measuring one kanal each could be exempted. “There must be some reasons that he [Mr Rehman] was exempted 54 plots measuring one kanal each in a single compact block. He was required to surrender 70 per cent of this land,” said the sources.

The anti-graft watchdog also asked the Jang group owner if he had made any payment for the land of two streets given to him as excess land of the LDA. The land of common passage, it said, could not be sold to any person. NAB said Mr Rehman had made a sale deed [of 54 plots] in favour of his wife and children being the general power of attorney holder of Hidayat Ali.

“These plots were transferred to Mr Rehman by his wife and children. The land for which Mr Rehman obtained general power of attorney was not located at one place in compact form; rather it was located in the form of three pockets at different locations,” it added.

After his appearance before the NAB team in Lahore last week, Mr Rehman had said he had bought the land in question from a private party and no illegality had been committed in this respect.

In a statement, the Jang group said its editor-in-chief had been arrested by NAB in connection with a property allegedly bought illegally from a government entity more than 34 years ago. The property was bought from a private party and all evidence of this was provided to NAB, including the legal requirements like duty and taxes.

Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2020

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