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LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has summoned Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz on March 26 in the ‘illegal’ land acquisition case in Raiwind.

The daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has also been called by the anti white-collar crime agency in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case on the same date.

According to the call-up notice issued under section 19 of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999, the Bureau alleged that it emerged during the inquiry conducted so far that Maryam (illegally) purchased nearly 1480 kanals land in Mouza Sultankay, Mouza Mall, Mouza Asal Lakhowal and Mouza Bado Ki Sani in district Lahore.

Hence, the NAB has directed the PML-N leader to bring all the required documentation at the time of her appearance before a combined investigation team (CIT) at its Thokar Niaz Baig office. The Bureau has alleged that at least 1,440 kanals of land was transferred to Maryam’s name. The transfer of the land happened after 2013 when 3,568 kanals of land (446 acres) was transferred in the name of the Sharif family.

According to the NAB, 3,568 kanals of land was purchased by the Sharif family in 2013. Out of this, the largest share - 1,936 kanals or 242 acres - was transferred in the name of late Shamim Bibi, the mother of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif. The property transferred against Maryam’s name was from this share of the property.

It may be mentioned that a violent clash between the PML-N workers and police took place outside the NAB Lahore office in August last year when Maryam reached there to record her statement in the same case. However, the PML-N leader’s statement could not be recorded due to the law and order situation and she was not summoned by the bureau since then.

According to the NAB, the master plan of Lahore was introduced in 2004. However, it was amended in 2013 through a notification by the Lahore district council and the residential areas of Raiwind tehsil were transferred and categorised as agricultural land.

In the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, the NAB arrested Maryam in August 2019. However, she was granted bail on November 4 the same year. The bureau had claimed that she aided and abetted co-accused – Nawaz Sharif and others – in acquiring and laundering funds which were allegedly disproportionate to their known sources of income. The bureau also accused Maryam of being a beneficiary of the assets.

Last week, the Lahore High Court (LHC) accepted a petition for hearing by the NAB seeking cancellation of Maryam’s bail in the sugar mills case on the grounds that she had been making statements against state institutions which were based on “treason”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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