LAHORE: Hearings of two references against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister of Punjab Hamza Shehbaz were adjourned on Tuesday due to unavailability of the judge of an accountability court.

Shehbaz and Hamza also skipped the hearings and their lawyers filed applications for one-time exemption from personal appearance on account of unavoidable official engagement.

A duty judge allowed the applications and simply put off the hearing till July 16 as regular Presiding Judge Sajid Ali Awan was on leave.

The court previously granted permanent exemption to PM Shehbaz from personal appearance in the reference of Ramzan Sugar Mills. He was due to attend hearing of Punjab Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme reference.

His application for the permanent exemption from appearance in the housing scheme’s reference is also pending with the court.

In the mills reference, the NAB alleged that Shehbaz being chief minister and his son Hamza with the abetment and connivance of each other caused a loss of Rs213 million to national exchequerby committing the offence of misuse of authority.

It said Shehbaz had issued a directive for the construction of a drain in district Chiniot primarily for the use of Ramzan Sugar Mills owned by his sons Hamza and Suleman.

The Ashiana reference alleged that Shehbaz and other accused persons caused a huge loss to national exchequer by awarding the contract of the housing scheme to a company without bidding.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2022

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