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LAHORE: An Accountability Court on Tuesday allowed the applications of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz for one time exemption from personal appearance in two references against them on account of unavoidable official engagement.

The court 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 Sharif being Chief Minister and his son Hamza Shahbaz with the abetment and connivance of each other caused a loss to national exchequer of rupees 213 million by committing the offence of misuse of authority.

It said Shehbaz Sharif 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 Shahbaz and Suleman.

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

Former principal secretary to the Prime Minister Fawad Hassan Fawad and former head of Lahore Development Authority Ahad Khan Cheema is also accused in this reference.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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