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PTI Faces Setback as Key Leader Ali Nawaz Awan Defects to Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party

On Sunday, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) faced a setback as its vocal and prominent leader, Ali Nawaz Awan, declared his departure from the party.

Ali Nawaz Awan announced his decision to join the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) during a meeting at the Lahore office, where he met with IPP’s Patron-in-Chief Jahangir Khan Tareen and President Abdul Aleem Khan, alongside the presence of Awn Chaudhry and other party leaders.

Ali Nawaz Awan

Simultaneously, the leadership of IPP expressed appreciation for Ali Nawaz’s choice and extended a warm welcome to him as he joined the party.

Shehbaz Sharifs And Others Exonerated From Ashiana Housing Scheme Scam

Meanwhile, in Lahore, an accountability court delivered its verdict on Saturday, acquitting former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and others in the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme case.

Judge Ali Zulqurnain announced the verdict, clearing Shehbaz Sharif, senior bureaucrat Fawad Hasan Fawad, former Lahore Development Authority Director General Ahad Khan Cheema, and others of the charges in this case.

This decision followed the National Accountability Bureau’s statement, declaring that during Shehbaz Sharif’s tenure as Punjab’s chief minister, there was no evidence of benefit gained from government funds or misuse of public office concerning the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme.

The corruption watchdog’s exoneration of the former prime minister and other accused individuals comes after their clearance in a prior money laundering case a few months earlier.

The Ashiana scandal surfaced in January 2018 when NAB accused Sharif, then the opposition leader, of abusing authority by directing the cancellation of the housing project contract during his chief minister tenure in 2014.

In March 2014, Sharif allegedly intervened in the bidding process during his visit to the Ashiana-e-Iqbal project site, leading to the project being reassigned to the Lahore Development Authority from the Punjab Land Development Company. This action purportedly caused a loss of Rs715 million to the exchequer.

Shehbaz Sharif was apprehended by NAB in connection with this scam on October 5, 2018, at their Lahore office while being investigated for the Saaf Pani Company probe.

NAB claimed that the contract initially awarded to Chaudhry Latif and Sons was redirected by Sharif and his associates to Lahore Casa Developers, allegedly a front for Paragon City (Pvt) Limited, associated with the then Railways Minister Saad Rafique, resulting in a Rs 14 billion contract.

Following Sharif’s arrest, Fawad Hasan Fawad, Ahad Khan Cheema, and several others were also apprehended in the course of the investigation later that year.

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