LAHORE: Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on Monday complained to an accountability court about ‘inhumane’ treatment being meted out to him during physical custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).“I have been humiliated and subjected to cruelty during the remand despite my known medical history,” said Shahbaz narrating his grievance before presiding judge Jawadul Hassan.
The NAB produced the PML-N president before the court for hearing of the money laundering and illegal assets reference against him and his family.
He said it was a known fact that he had been suffering from a severe backache for the last 25 years.
“Initially the officials used to provide me food on a table in the detention room but now they deliberately put it on the ground so I feel pain picking it up,” Shahbaz told the court.
NAB chairman orders probe
The opposition leader further said that he was also denied help to turn a chair towards qiblah to offer prayers.
He alleged that all these acts were being done at the behest of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his adviser Mirza Shahzad Akbar. “If anything happens to me I would lodge a FIR against both of them,” he maintained before the court.
Judge Hassan expressed serious concern over the complaint by Shahbaz and warned the NAB that he would not tolerate any inhumane behaviour during the remand.
He observed that the suspect was a former chief minister of the province and the officials needed to treat him with respect.
A NAB prosecutor denied the allegations and said Shahbaz was not even kept in a lock-up but in a dispensary instead.
“If I pay a surprise visit to the lock-up it would be misconstrued as a meeting with the suspect,” the judge said and cautioned the prosecutor that he did not want to hear such complaints again.
Taking note of the complaint later in the day, NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal ordered a probe to ascertain the `factual position’. An official statement said the NAB Chairman had already given instructions to all the regional bureaus to ensure self-respect of every accused during custody as per law.
HAMZA: The jail officials also produced Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz before the court after a gap of several hearings as he tested negative for Covid-19 after 20 days of being infected.
A representative of the foreign office filed a report before the court saying the service of the arrest warrants against Nusrat Shahbaz, Suleman Shahbaz and Rabia Imran had not been executed at their addresses in London.
Advocate Amjad Pervez requested the court not to issue non-bailable arrest warrants of Rabia, daughter of Shahbaz, as she would join the trial proceedings.
Judge Hassan, however, turned down the request and observed that the warrants would be withdrawn after the appearance of the suspect.
The judge adjourned further hearing till Oct 13 and also issued fresh non-bailable arrest warrants for Nusrat and Suleman.
Shahbaz has been in the NAB custody since his arrest on Sept 28 after the Lahore High Court dismissed his pre-arrest bail petition as withdrawn. His first remand would also expire on Oct 13.
The police made strict security arrangements outside the judicial complex as a result commuters and pedestrians had to face a great deal of inconvenience.
Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2020