LAHORE: A duty judge for a special court (offences in bank) on Monday granted pre-arrest bail to Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz one day before their scheduled appearance before the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in a case of sugar scam and money laundering.
The father and son duo appeared before the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Syed Ali Abbas, who heard the bail petitions as duty judge due to unavailability of the special court’s judge.
Advocate Amjad Pervez, on behalf of the opposition leaders, argued that the first information report (FIR) registered by the FIA was a sequel to the ongoing campaign of the government to politically victimise the opposition.
The counsel pointed out that a reference on similar charges was already pending before an accountability court against the petitioners. Therefore, he said, the case registered by the FIA on the same allegations of illegal assets and money laundering was illegal.
He argued that a person could not be arrested twice after being released on bail in a case of similar charges.
With the judge’s permission, Shehbaz also spoke in his defence and said his actions as former chief minister caused a financial loss to the sugar mills of his sons and brother. He said he protected the rights of the farmers by refusing subsidy to millers and fixing the price of sugarcane at Rs182 in Punjab despite a lower price fixed in Sindh province.
Shehbaz said his government imposed a levy on the sugar mills for producing ethanol, which, he said, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government withdrew.
The counsel said the petitioners were ready to join the investigation, therefore, they should be granted bail.
The judge granted the interim pre-arrest bail to both Shehbaz and Hamza till July 10 and also sought a report from the FIA.
Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2021