LAHORE: A duty judge for a special court (offences in bank) on Monday extended pre-arrest bail of Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz in an inquiry into sugar scam and money laundering.

Both the father and the son appeared before the court along with their lawyers.

Mr Shehbaz told the judge that he skipped the session of the National Assembly for the appearance in the bail proceedings as he had great respect for the courts.

The judge observed that Shehbaz could have sought an exemption from personal hearing by filing an application.

The judge also asked Hamza as if the Punjab Assembly was also in session nowadays.

Hamza said the provincial assembly also had its session on Monday.

Additional District & Sessions Judge Hamid Hussain extended the bail of both till Aug 16 and directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to submit a report on the next hearing.

Several leaders of PML-N and workers also visited the judicial complex to express solidarity with the party leaders.

Shehbaz and his sons Hamza and Suleman were booked by the FIA in November 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 – financial fraud, impersonation and forgery – of the PPC and 5 (2) and 5 (3) – criminal misconduct – of Prevention of Corruption Act and r/w 3/4 of Anti Money Laundering Act. Suleman Shehbaz is absconding in the UK.

The court had first granted them pre-arrest bail on June 21, a day before the first appearance of Shehbaz before the FIA.

SHOW CAUSE: Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz has filed his reply to a show-cause notice of the FIA denying the charges of money laundering and questioning the jurisdiction of the agency to hold the inquiry.

Hamza says that all his assets are already subject matter of a trial of a reference filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). He argues that show-cause notice is mala fide and without sanction of law.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2021

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