The Lahore High Court (LHC) has granted bail to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief and National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif in the assets beyond means and money laundering case.
He had moved the high court for post-arrest bail in the reference — filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) — in March, five months after he was sent to jail on judicial remand by a trial court.
The anti-graft watchdog had arrested Shehbaz in September after the LHC denied him further relief of pre-arrest bail in the case.
On Tuesday, the bench, headed by Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar, adjourned the hearing until today as a special prosecutor sought to start his arguments on behalf of the agency.
An LHC division bench headed by Justice Sardar Sarfraz Dogar heard the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s arguments on the bail application of the opposition leader.
On Tuesday, Shehbaz’s counsel Azam Nazir Tarar completed arguments for his bail, claiming that NAB has failed to come up with any evidence to establish the charges.
In his bail request, Sharif alleged the NAB proceedings against him had been prompted by mala fide intention, ulterior motive, and considerations extraneous to law.
He said the registration of a series of cases in quick succession against him and his repeated arrests at the behest of the government had been a classic example of misuse of the process of NAB to muffle the voice of the opposition.
He said the bureau failed to collect any evidence of any corruption, kickbacks, misuse of any public office for personal gain by him throughout his political career.
SHARMILA FARUQI’S DELETED TWEET:
As Twitter reacted to the bail, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Sharmila Faruqi tweeted to hint at possible betterment of ties between the PML-N and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
“Accusations of joining hands with government against the PPP and bail for Shehbaz?” she said in the tweeted that was later deleted.
Tensions are running high between the PPP and anti-government Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), of which the PML-N is a key member.
Trouble had been brewing between the two political entities ever since the government-friendly Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) supported PPP’s Yousuf Raza Gilani for slot of Senate opposition leader.
Gilani’s nomination and subsequent election considered betrayal by other PDM members except the Awami National Party (ANP) was the latest bone of contention until the PPP and ANP were served show-cause notices.
The same led to the PPP and ANP resigning from the opposition alliance. PDM chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has, however, asked both the parties to reconsider their decision.
CASE AGAINST SHEHBAZ:
Sharif along with his son Punjab Assembly opposition leader and PML-N Vice President Hamza Shehbaz was indicted in November in the Rs7 billion reference involving charges of money laundering and assets beyond means.
The reference mainly accuses Sharif of being a beneficiary of the assets held in the name of his family members and frontmen, who had no sources to acquire such assets.
It says the family members and the frontmen of the family received fake foreign remittances of billions in their personal bank accounts. In addition to these remittances, the bureau says, billions of rupees were laundered by way of foreign pay orders, which were deposited in the personal bank accounts of Hamza and his brother Suleman Shahbaz.
The reference further says Sharif and his family failed to justify the sources of funds used for the acquisition of assets.