LAHORE: An accountability court on Tuesday rejected the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s request for further physical remand of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in the money laundering and illegal assets reference and sent him to jail on judicial remand.
A NAB team presented Mr Sharif before the court on expiry of his previous one-week remand and sought his further custody for 14 days to “complete investigation”.
The investigating officer (IO) told the court that the suspect refused to answer the queries during the remand, taking refuge behind an observation the court had made in the last hearing that it would go against him if he did not cooperate with the interrogators.
The IO said that Mr Sharif was confronted with details of his bank accounts, but he expressed his ignorance.
Hearing of Ramzan Sugar Mills case adjourned due to lawyers’ strike
Rejecting the NAB claim, Mr Sharif said that the interrogators visited him only for 15 minutes during the last week. He said that all questions the interrogators asked him had already been answered and mentioned in the reference filed before the court.
The opposition leader said that the total number days he had spent in NAB custody was 85, including the period during which he was questioned in connection with the Ashiana-i-Iqbal housing scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills references in 2018.
He said that NAB had been provided with complete details of his loans.
Presiding Judge Jawadul Hassan asked the IO about the reason for seeking remand of the suspect. The IO replied that the suspect had not cooperated in the investigation.
Mr Sharif said that he had been asked the same old questions again and again during the physical remand.
He also referred to the services he had rendered during his 10-year stint as chief minister of Punjab.
The judge turned down the NAB’s request for further custody of Mr Sharif and sent him to jail on judicial remand till Oct 27.
Advocate Amjad Pervez, the counsel for Sharif, told the media that a post-arrest bail application would be filed before the Lahore High Court soon after consultation with his client.
The NAB had arrested Mr Sharif on Sept 28 after the LHC dismissed his pre-arrest bail in the money laundering case.
Meanwhile, another accountability court adjourned the hearing of the Ramzan Sugar Mills case till Oct 31 due to a strike by the lawyers.
The jail officials produced Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz before the court. However, his counsel sought adjournment due to the strike call given by the Punjab Bar Council.
Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2020