LAHORE: A Lahore High Court two-judge bench will take up on Thursday (today) a writ petition of Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza, challenging an inquiry into money laundering charges against them initiated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Both father and the son are on pre-arrest bail in the case granted by a special court (bank offences) last year.

The petition filed through Advocate Amjad Pervez states that the proceedings in the inquiry against the petitioners are prompted by mala fide intention, ulterior motive and considerations extraneous to law.

It says registration of a series of cases in quick succession and repeated arrests of the petitioners in the past are classic examples of misuse of process by the law enforcement agencies at the behest of the federal government to muffle the voice of the opposition.

LHC bench to take up plea today

The petition also questions the FIA’s jurisdiction to register the impugned FIR as the agency does not have the jurisdiction to proceed in such matters. None of the suspects nominated in the FIR was a public servant in the service of the government or employee of any company/corporation, it adds.

The petition argues that there is not even an allegation in the case of causing loss to the public exchequer, any bank or any other financial institution. The FIA has also failed to produce any evidence of any proceeds of crime, which is a mandatory condition to allege an offence under the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010, it says.

It submits that the entire proceedings have been initiated against the petitioners when they were already in judicial lockup in another case filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on similar charges.

It says the impugned FIR was registered after a three-month inquiry and the FIR does not spell out any admissible piece of evidence to suggest any role of the petitioners in the alleged offence.

The petition seeks quashing of the FIR registered by the FIA being illegal and also restraining of the respondents from taking any adverse action against the petitioners.

The petition has been fixed for hearing before the two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2022

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