LAHORE: An accountability court is likely to indict Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, his son Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz and others in the money laundering and illegal assets reference on the next hearing.
Earlier, the jail officials produced the duo before the court in two separate Armoured Personnel Vehicles (APCs) while strict security measures had been taken by the police outside the judicial complex.
At the outset of the hearing, a prosecutor of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted copies of the statements of its four approvers before the court.
Presiding Judge Jawadul Hassan directed Shehbaz to receive the copies of the statements and asked his counsel as to how much time he needed to prepare for the framing of the charges.
Shehbaz tells court his name was not mentioned in statements of approvers; Maryam meets uncle, cousin at judicial complex; predicts 2021 election year
Mr Shehbaz said his name was nowhere mentioned in the statements of the approvers recorded before the magistrate under section 164 of CrPC.
“It would benefit you in the trial,” the judge said to him.
Advocate Amjad Pervez, the defence counsel, sought at least one-week time and the judge allowed his request putting off the hearing for Nov 11.
Mr Shehbaz complained to the judge that he had not been provided the facility of physiotherapy in the jail despite a permission granted by the court. He further said that a medical board of Jinnah Hospital was also yet to examine him.
The PML-N president told the judge that he had been suffering from a severe backache as he was unable to sit in the APC. “The pain does not allow me to sit neither in the jail lock-up nor in the APC,” he said and added that the vehicle he travelled on from the jail to the court was very uncomfortable for him.
The judge directed the opposition leader to file a fresh application in this regard, which would be decided as per the law.
The defence counsel submitted medical reports of Shehbaz and Hamza stating that the latter also had a complaint of sciatica.
The judge dismissed an application of Nusrat, the wife of Shehbaz, seeking permanent exemption from personal appearance in the trial on health reasons. The defence counsel had argued that Ms Nusrat was out of the country for her medical treatment.
The judge directed the prosecution to start the proceedings to declare her absconder.
In compliance with a previous direction by the court, a report was submitted on behalf of NAB-Lahore Director General Shahzad Saleem on the question of jail trial in the money laundering reference.
The judge had on previous hearing sought a report on the possibility of jail trial against the family of Shehbaz in view of Covid-19 and hardships of the public on roads. The DG in his report said the court had the power to hold a jail trial of any case. He said the bureau will leave no stone unturned for coming to the expectations for earliest disposal of the cases.
MARYAM: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz also reached the judicial complex to meet her uncle Shehbaz and cousin Hamza as the party claimed she had not been allowed to visit them in the jail.
Responding to the journalists, she condemned the authorities for bringing the opposition leaders to the court in the APCs saying the government was scared of democratic leaders.
Ms Nawaz said the government would reap what it was sowing.
She said those predicting rifts among the elder and younger Sharif knew that the families were united.
To a query about the next elections, she expressed her hope that 2021 would be the election year. She also condemned the police torture of the journalists on the court premises.
Senior leaders of the PML-N including Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal, Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb and Azma Bokhari were also present in the court.
Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2020