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LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency on Tuesday stopped Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz from leaving the country.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader was to board a connecting flight for London via Doha at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore when officials at the immigration counter told him that his name had been on the Exit Control List (ECL).

On his failure to convince the immigration officials to let him board the flight of a foreign airline, the son of PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif returned home.

NAB has been investigating him and his brother Salman

“The immigration officials first told Hamza that his name was on the black list and later he was informed that it was on the ECL,” PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said in a statement.

She wondered why Hamza Shahbaz’s name had been placed on the no-fly list despite the fact he was not wanted in any case. “The accountability court had already declared that he was not wanted in any case,” she said.

She alleged that there were two laws in the country — one for Prime Minister Imran Khan and his favourites and the other for the PML-N and the Sharif family.

“Hamza is not a terrorist; he is a responsible citizen and politician. The PML-N leaders and the Sharif family are the target of the Imran Khan government,” she said.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been investigating Hamza and his brother Salman in cases pertaining to income beyond means and the Ramzan Sugar Mills.

According to NAB, both brothers in their capacity as directors of the Ramzan Sugar Mills got constructed a bridge linking to the mill in Chiniot out of public money.

It said that Rs200 million had been approved by then chief minister Shahbaz Sharif for the construction of the bridge.

Salman Shahbaz had left for London a couple of months ago to avoid a NAB hearing in the cases.

Shahbaz Sharif’s son-in-law Imran Ali Yousaf is also reportedly in London after being declared a proclaimed offender by an accountability court in the Saaf Pani Company case.

Punjab Minister for Information Fayyazul Hassan Chohan said the country’s security agencies were fully alert and would not let those who looted the national wealth and fled abroad.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2018