Khawaja brothers case adjourned till Oct 5

LAHORE:An accountability court on Tuesday adjourned hearing of Paragon City reference against former railways minister, Khawaja Saad Rafique, and his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique till Oct 5.

The court directed parties to conclude arguments on the applications filed against indictment and for acquittal, by the next date of hearing.

Accountability Court Judge Syed Jawadul Hassan conducted the reference proceedings wherein Khawaja brothers were produced on expiry of their judicial remand term.

At the outset of the proceedings, the court expressed annoyance over not producing Khawaja brothers on the last hearing and inquired from SP headquarters as to why the accused were not produced.

The SP replied that the accused were not produced due to lockdown and strike situation in the city on the previous hearing. The court noted that if the court was working, then what was significance of the lockdown.

A counsel for the Khawaja brothers requested the court for adjourning the proceedings as the senior counsel was busy in other important cases.

Subsequently, the court adjourned the hearing till Oct 5 and directed parties for concluding arguments on the applications on the next hearing.

Besides the Khawaja brothers, Nadeem Zia, Umar Zia and Farhan Ali were also nominated in the reference.

The reference stated that the Khawaja brothers through their ‘benamidars’ and with the abetment of former MPA Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia, established a housing project in the name of Air Avenue. The project was later converted into a new housing project namely Paragon City Pvt Ltd, which NAB said was an illegal society and not approved by the Lahore Development Authority.

The former railways minister and his brother allegedly received monetary benefits of Rs 58 million and 39 million, respectively, from the society through proxy firms under the grab of consultancy services, it added.

Khawaja brothers were arrested on Dec 11, 2018 by the bureau. A Lahore High Court bench dismissed post-arrest bail petitions of the Khawaja brothers on June 18. However, they had not approached the apex court in the matter yet.