LAHORE: A special court (bank offences) on Monday extended the interim 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 charges.
Shehbaz and Hamza appeared before the court while a proxy counsel sought a long adjournment of the proceedings.
He said the lead counsel, Amjad Pervez, could not appear due to his appearance before the Lahore High Court. He further said the National Assembly session was also set to be resumed.
Presiding Judge Qaiser Nazir Butt extended the bail of both opposition leaders till Sept 4 and directed the investigating officer to submit a complete investigation report.
In the sugar scam, Shehbaz and his sons – Hamza and Suleman –were booked by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in November 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 – financial fraud, impersonation and forgery – of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and 5(2) and 5(3) – criminal misconduct – of the Prevention of Corruption Act and r/w 3/4 of Anti Money Laundering Act. Suleman Shehbaz is absconding in the UK.
The banking court had granted the pre-arrest bail to Shehbaz and Hamza on June 21, a day before the first appearance of Shehbaz before the FIA.
Later, the father and son duo appeared before an accountability court for hearings of three references – money laundering, Ramzan Sugar Mills and Ashiana Housing Scheme.
A duty judge marked their attendance and adjourned further proceedings till Sept 16.
Several leaders and scores of workers of the PML-N gathered outside the courts to express solidarity with Shehbaz and Hamza.
In a brief media talk, Shehbaz said political victimisation was at its peak in the country during the rule of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said his family had been implicated in multiple cases under similar charges.
He alleged the federal government by not appointing regular judges of the accountability courts wanted to influence the cases against the opposition leaders.
Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2021