LHC sets aside trial court order against Nusrat

Published March 31, 2021
This file photo shows Nusrat Shehbaz being accompanied by Hamza and Salman Shehbaz. — AFP/File
This file photo shows Nusrat Shehbaz being accompanied by Hamza and Salman Shehbaz. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday set aside an order of a trial court wherein Nusrat Shehbaz, wife of Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, had been declared absconder followed by her non-bailable arrest warrants in money laundering and illegal assets reference.

Ms Shehbaz, who at present living in London, had filed a petition through PML-N Deputy Secretary General Attaullah Tarar as a special attorney challenging the proceedings pending against her before an accountability court.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar had suspended the impugned decisions of the trial court and restrained the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from taking coercive measures against the petitioner.

The petitioner had pleaded that she was an old and infirm woman of over 66 years of age and was a known chronic patient of a number of serious ailments, including cardiac. She had to go abroad during early 2019 for health reasons and since then she is stuck there for medical treatment.

Denying the allegation of fleeing the country to avoid the proceedings, Ms Shehbaz submitted that she was already abroad when the NAB started to issue call-up notices to her. She also questioned the jurisdiction of the trial court to issue arrest warrants since she was not residing within its territory prior to filing of the reference.

She asked the LHC to set aside the impugned order of the trial court regarding denial of exemption from personal appearance and the issuance of her non-bailable arrest warrants for being illegal.

During Tuesday’s hearing, NAB’s special prosecutor Faisal Raza Bokhari said the prosecution would not oppose the petition if conditions of the prosecution were fulfilled.

He said the petitioner needed to appoint a pleader to attend the trial proceedings on her behalf and undertook to appear before the court after the recovery.

The petitioner’s counsel conceded to the prosecution and the bench allowed the petition setting aside the trial court’s impugned decisions.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2021

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