LAHORE: An accountability court on Tuesday declared Nusrat Shehbaz, wife of Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, an absconder for her persistent non-appearance in the money laundering and illegal assets reference.
The investigating officer of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a report before the court and said the process under section 87 of CrPC to declare the suspect absconder stood completed as Ms Nusrat failed to attend the proceedings despite the last opportunity of 30 days.
Presiding Judge Jawadul Hassan declared Ms Nusrat an absconder and directed the IO to start further process against her under section 88 of CrPC, which include confiscation of moveable and immoveable properties of an absconder.
Shehbaz’s son Suleman, daughter Rabia Imran and son-in-law Haroon Yousaf had already been declared absconders for avoiding their appearance in the proceedings.
Meanwhile, the jail officials produced Mr Shehbaz and Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz before the court.
The prosecution also presented its three witnesses, however, their cross-examination could not be held due to unavailability of lead defence counsel Amjad Pervez.
The judge expressed his dismay over the absence of the counsel, however, adjourned the cross-examination till the next hearing on Dec 12.
Mr Shehbaz complained about the non-provision of the facility of physiotherapy in the jail despite an order issued by the court.
At this, the judge directed the jail superintendent to appear in person along with a report in this regard on the next hearing.
The PML-N president also spoke in his defence and reiterated that he had not misappropriated a single penny from the public money. He also claimed to have never withdrawn his salary being a parliamentarian since his first stint in 1988 as member of Punjab Assembly.
The judge advised Mr Shehbaz to speak less in the court and let his legal counsel defend the case.
Referring to PML-N information secretary Marryium Aurangzeb, the judge reminded the opposition leader that he had a competent political spokesperson to plead his case before the public.
Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2020