Pakistan's anti-graft body arrests opposition leader

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A Pakistani court has ordered that opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif be remanded in custody for 10 days after being arrested in a corruption case, meaning he will not be able to campaign for his party ahead of crucial by-elections next week.

Almost three weeks after his release from jail, the supreme leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is set to resume political activities from Monday (today) by presiding over an "emergency meeting" of the party's Central Executive Committee (CEC) in Lahore.

Shehbaz Sharif, who is facing several other cases, rejected the allegation saying he had cancelled the said contract because it was granted to a blacklisted company.

His lawyer said, that the development meant that Sharif would not be able to campaign for his party ahead of crucial by-elections on October 14.

NAB was granted a 10-day physical remand of Shehbaz by an accountability court on Saturday.

"The government shouldn't put the burden of its incompetence on Shahbaz Sharif", the elder Sharif said.

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Angry PML-N supporters gathered in the premises of the NAB court and stopped the armored vehicle of the police in which Shehbaz was brought to the court. A combined investigation team of the country's top anti-graft watchdog quizzed him for an hour over his alleged role in awarding contract to his "favourite firm" in violation of laws in the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal housing project.

Talking to media in Lahore on Saturday, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the committee will decide action plan regarding the case.

Nawaz Sharif was ousted from his post previous year by the Supreme Court after Panama Papers leaks revealed he and his family owned several apartments in London.

"Shahbaz Sharif was arrested to pave the way for the ruling party candidates to win the by-poll", said one of the speakers.

He claimed that the national exchequer had not suffered the loss of "even a single penny" in the case in which Shahbaz was arrested today. Mr. Nawaz was released from prison last month, pending an appeal against his conviction.

The Panama Papers case is about alleged money laundering by Sharif in the 1990s when he twice served as Pakistan's prime minister to purchase assets in London.