LAHORE: The counsel for Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday said in the Lahore Court that Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar held a press conference the other day on the money laundering reference appending before an accountability court.
Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar, the lead counsel of Shahbaz, said ministers and advisers were openly discussing the subjudice matters, which amounted to making the proceedings before the courts prejudice.
The counsel urged a two-judge bench, seized with the pre-arrest bail petition of the opposition leader, to take notice of the ministers/advisers statements and press conferences on the cases pending before the courts.
The bench consists of Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem and Justice Farooq Haider.
He said the ministers had claimed that Shahbaz would be behind bars soon. Mr Shahbaz was present in the court while other PML-N leaders - Rana Sanaullah Khan, Khwaja Saad Rafiq and Maryam Aurangzeb - also joined the party’s president.
Advocate Tarar said the Supreme Court repeatedly observed that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) apparently arrested people only for its ego satisfaction.
He said NAB had already issued arrest warrants for Shahbaz before summoning him for investigation. He questioned the intention of NAB to arrest the petitioner despite the fact that the trial of the case had commenced.
Mr Tarar said NAB summoned Shahbaz once in the last three months and he did appear before it. He said the reference filed by NAB was proof that the investigation stood completed.
Shahbaz also came to the rostrum and said NAB had no evidence against him to establish that he misused the public office for any financial gain. He also sought permission from the bench to present some documents.
The bench assured Shahbaz of an ample opportunity of hearing asking him to let his counsel conclude the arguments first.
The counsel said he would require two to three days more to complete his arguments while NAB Special Prosecutor Syed Faisal Raza Bokhari said he needed only 30 minutes for his arguments.
The bench adjourned the hearing till Sept 28 with direction to the petitioner’s counsel to conclude his arguments quickly.
The police deployments remained at high alert as a large number of party workers came to express solidarity with their leader.
Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2020