LAHORE: An accountability court on Wednesday delayed cross-examination of two prosecution witnesses due to unavailability of Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman’s lead counsel in a reference of 34-year-old illegal land allotment.
As Presiding Judge Asad Ali resumed hearing for the cross-examination of the witnesses, Mr Rehman and other suspects along with their counsel were present in the court.
However, the judge was informed that Rehman’s lead counsel Amjad Pervez could not appear due to his appearance before the Lahore High Court.
Judge Ali expressed his dismay over the absence of the counsel and observed that the hearing was fixed with the consent of the counsel but he failed to ensure his appearance.
The judge adjourned hearing till March 16 and directed the witnesses to ensure their appearance for the cross-examination.
Other suspects including former director general of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Humayon Faiz Rasool and its former director of land development department Mian Bashir Ahmad appeared before the court.
In this reference, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had been declared an absconder for not joining the proceedings pending before the court. The NAB has started the process for the attachment of moveable and immoveable properties owned by Sharif.
The NAB alleged that Rehman illegally obtained exemption of 54 plots each measuring one-kanal situated in Block-H, Johar Town.
It alleged that the allotment of the land had been made in connivance with then chief minister 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 other two suspects were only interrogated.
Rehman was arrested by the NAB on March 13, 2020 and remained in its custody till April 28. The Supreme Court had released him on bail on Nov 9 last.
Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2021