LAHORE: An accountability court on Thursday declared three members of the family of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif absconders as proceedings against them under Section 87 of the Criminal Procedure Code stood completed after they avoided their appearance in the money laundering and illegal assets reference.
They include Shehbaz Sharif’s son Suleman, daughter Rabia Imran and son-in-law Haroon Yousaf.
The investigating officer of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted to the court a report showing the process required under the law to declare the suspects absconder had been completed that also included a last opportunity of 30 days.
Presiding Judge Jawadul Hassan declared the suspects absconder and directed NAB to initiate further action against them. Similar proceedings to declare Shehbaz Sharif’s wife Nusrat absconder are also under way.
Earlier, jail officials brought the PML-N president and his son Hamza Shehbaz to the judicial complex in bulletproof vehicles instead of armoured personnel carrier as previously directed by the court.
At the start of the proceedings, the judge and the NAB prosecutor expressed their condolence to Shehbaz Sharif over the demise of his mother.
Punjab Assembly Deputy Secretary (Budget) Faisal Bilal and Election Commission Assistant Director Khalid Mahmood recorded their statements as prosecution witnesses.
The record submitted by the National Assembly and the Punjab Assembly showed that Shehbaz Sharif had not withdrawn pay/allowances being members of the both houses during his multiple stints from 1993 to 2018. The documents revealed that he used to donate the amount to the National Assembly Employees Welfare Fund.
However, Hamza Shehbaz withdrew pay and allowances during his stints as member of the national and provincial assemblies.
The judge adjourned the hearing till Dec 3 with a directive for NAB to present more witnesses for evidence.
Strict security measures were taken outside the judicial complex as police blocked the roads by placing containers and barbed wires.
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2020