LHC grants Shehbaz pre-arrest bail

LAHORE:The Lahore High Court on Wednesday granted pre-arrest bail to Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in the assets beyond means and money laundering case.

A two-member bench of the LHC comprising Justice Tariq Abbasi and Justice Farooq Haider granted bail against surety bonds worth Rs500,000 and further ordered National Accountability (NAB) from arresting Shehbaz till June 17.

During the hearing today, Shehbaz’s counsel told the court that his client was summoned on June 2.

To this, the court asked the NAB prosecutor why they had summoned him on June 2 if the warrant was issued before. “”The warrant for his arrest was issued after we received the relevant material,” the NAB prosecutor told the court,” the NAB prosecutor told the court.

Shehbaz’s counsel further told the court that his client had provided all the documents that NAB had asked for. He added Shehbaz had been summoned on October 5, 2018, and had been arrested in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case.

“NAB continued to conduct an injury while Shehbaz was in remand for 63 days,” he said.

The court then ordered NAB not to arrest the PML-N leader till June 17 and directed Shehbaz to submit bonds worth Rs500,000.

According to Geo News, PML-N leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Sanullah, Fazal Chaudhry and Rana Arshad had been present at the court for the hearing.

Speaking to Geo News, after the hearing, Sanaullah said that when a petition had been filed in the court, it was obligatory upon law enforcement agencies to tell their side to the court.

“Despite Shehbaz submitting a petition in court, NAB raided his and other PML-N leaders’ houses,” he said.

Sanullah added that even roads leading up to the courthouse had been sealed today. “After the chief justice took notice of this, the blockades from roads were cleared,” he said, adding that he was hopeful the court would play its part in stopping this political revenge.

Earlier, authorities had cordoned off roads leading to the court to avoid any mishap.

On June 1, Shehbaz’s legal team had filed a petition before he was required to appear before a combined investigation team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). However, the petition could not be fixed for hearing before the division bench, constituted to hear NAB-related pleas, and Shehbaz did not appear before the bureau too.

The PML-N leader’s petition is at No 2 on the cause-list of urgent cases before the bench.

Shehbaz, in his petition, stated that the corruption watchdog’s assets beyond means inquiry against him was based on mala fide intentions as it had been initiated at the behest of the incumbent government. He added that the Bureau levelled charges against him without any shred of evidence as he had been declaring his assets regularly.

The PML-N leader added he was also arrested in the same case in 2018 and he had fully cooperated with NAB investigators, however, the anti-graft body did not present any proof against him relating to misuse of powers or money-laundering, etc.

Shehbaz’s lawyer stated that his client had been declaring his assets since he stepped into politics in 1988 and nothing had been concealed ever. He refuted money-laundering allegations, saying the whole story was fabricated and concocted.

He added that during an inquiry or investigation, NAB could not invoke the provisions of anti-money laundering law, adding that allegations against him were of a documentary nature and all necessary documents had already been provided to the Bureau. Shehbaz further stated that he feared that NAB might arrest him in connection with its pending inquiries, which would hinder him from performing his duties as the opposition leader in the National Assembly.

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