What is the Ashiana Housing scandal? Complete details.

What is the Ashiana Housing scandal? Complete details.

In 2011, Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme aka Ashiana Housing Scandal was established to provide inexpensive accommodation to people. It was heavily promoted as a great solution for those looking for an affordable living option. Nevertheless, there were certain doubts which raised questions about irregularities as ballots experienced delays and completed units began to appear.

In 2018, a few high-profile politicians were heavily criticized for their suspected illegal activities and abuse of power. This then resulted in an investigation by the National Accountability Bureau. Amongst those accused was Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who had allegedly misused his powers during his stint as the Chief Minister of Punjab in an inquiry pertaining to the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC).

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An inquiry released in 2018 suggested that Shehbaz Sharif while acting as the Chief Minister of Punjab, had overstepped his jurisdiction by illegally taking control of the Board of Directors at the Punjab Land and Development Company (PLDC). Furthermore, he was accused of exploiting his authority and conspiring with Fawad and others.

Ch. A Latif and Sons, assigned to take on the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Project, had their contract unlawfully revoked and redistributed to Lahore Casa Developers (LCD), a Paragon City Private Limited subsidiary. Moreover, it was alleged that in a meeting on October 21, 2014, Shehbaz Sharif unlawfully directed PLDC to entrust the project of Ashiana Iqbal Punjab to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) — which was headed by his close aide Ahad Khan Cheema.

People deemed Sharif’s decision as ill-intentioned since the PLDC was specially created to handle housing projects like this. All three of the main accused were among those arrested — and subsequently released — during the investigation in 2018.

In September last year, the National Accountability Court granted Shehbaz Sharif a permanent exemption from appearance in the reference.