Hamza Shehbaz moves LHC for bail citing 'deadly' risk in case of virus outbreak in prison

Updated March 28, 2020

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Petitioner says NAB is yet to make headway in 10-month-old investigation. — DawnNewsTV/File
Petitioner says NAB is yet to make headway in 10-month-old investigation. — DawnNewsTV/File

Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly, PML-N's Hamza Shehbaz on Saturday sought bail from the Lahore High Court on grounds of "potentially deadly risk" for inmates in the situation that has arisen as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a petition submitted to the court through his lawyers, Hamza said the coronavirus pandemic had caused an alarming situation in the country while a state of emergency had been declared in the whole world.

"The confined space of a prison makes it virtually impossible to implement the policy of social distancing. The prisoners are vulnerable and exposed to suffer irreparably in case of an outbreak. Godforbid a prison outbreak is likely to present potentially deadly risk to its inmates," the petition, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com read.

It further said that in the ten months since the National Accountability Bureau had arrested Hamza, no reference was filed against him by the anti-graft watchdog.

The National Accountability Bureau is investigating two different cases of corruption against Hamza Shahbaz. Today's bail application was filed in a case regarding the accumulation of assets beyond means.

The Punjab leader of opposition was already granted post-arrest bail on February 6 in a case pertaining to the alleged misuse of a grant of Rs360 million released by the Punjab government in 2015 for launching a drainage scheme for the localities in Chiniot district.

But the public grant was allegedly misused and instead a 9-10km-long waste water course for M/s Ramzan Sugar Mills Ltd was constructed by fraudulently showing for the drainage scheme. Ramzan Sugar Mills, according to the appeal, belonged to Hamza Shahbaz.

NAB accused former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza's father, of abusing his authority by ordering the provision of illegal pecuniary advantage to Ramzan Sugar Mills.