LAHORE: An accountability court on Thursday indicted Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman and two others in a reference pertaining to a 34-year-old “illegal” land allotment in his favour, allegedly manipulated by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

All the suspects, including former director general of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Humayon Faiz Rasool and its former director of land development department Mian Bashir Ahmad pleaded not guilty and decided to contest the trial.At this, Presiding Judge Asad Ali directed the prosecution to present its witnesses on the next hearing on Feb 16, so the trial proceedings could be started formally.

In this case, former premier Nawaz Sharif had already been declared an absconder for not joining the proceedings pending before the court.

On a last hearing, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had submitted a report in the court about the attachment of moveable and immovable properties owned by Sharif.

The NAB, in its reference, alleged that Rehman illegally obtained exemption of 54 plots, each measuring one kanal, situated in Block-H, Johar Town.

It alleged that the land allotment had been done in connivance with the then chief minister of Punjab, Nawaz Sharif, against the exemption policy and the laws for monetary gains.

It said the suspects caused a loss of Rs143.53 million to the national exchequer through allotment of the land in violation of exemption policy.

The NAB had arrested Rehman, while the other two suspects were only interrogated.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2021

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