Geo News claimed on Saturday that a Lahore accountability court had acquitted former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif and ten others in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme reference.
The court found not guilty all of the defendants, including the currently serving federal minister Ahad Cheema and Fawad Hassan Fawad.
After hearing closing arguments from defence attorneys and prosecutors from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Judge Malik Ali Zulqarnain Awan of the accountability court reserved the verdict on November 2.
The applications for acquittal maintained that there was no chance of conviction because all prosecution witnesses and approvers had recanted their testimony. The petitioners requested that the court grant their applications so that they might be exonerated.
The NAB informed the court in a report submitted in May that there was no proof of financial corruption or abuse of authority on the part of Shehbaz Sharif.
In accordance with the National Accountability Ordinance of 1999, the assessment concluded that the former prime minister’s accusations of misuse of authority and corruption were unfounded.
In 2018, NAB filed the reference, saying that the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the other accused had caused a large financial loss to the national kitty by awarding the contract to a construction firm without competitive bidding.
Sharif was detained on Oct 5, 2018, in connection with the case when he appeared before the accountability bureau in another matter while Cheema was hauled into custody on February 21 of the same year. Both of them were later released on bail.
Earlier, the court acquitted Kamran Kiyani, the brother of former army leader Ashfaque Parvez Kiyani, and Nadeem Zia, a resident of Paragon City, citing a “lack of evidence.”
The NAB claimed that Cheema obtained improper advantages from Paragon City Developers’ owners in exchange for entrusting Bismillah Engineering with the housing scheme contract.