LAHORE: An accountability court on Tuesday granted a permanent exemption to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif from personal appearance in a money laundering case filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Presiding Judge Qamaruz Zaman allowed an application filed by the prime minister after hearing final arguments of his counsel.

The counsel also filed a separate application for a one-time exemption for Tuesday’s hearing, saying the prime minister had to preside over a meeting of the federal cabinet in Islamabad.

The judge allowed both applications and permitted the accused (Shehbaz Sharif) to appoint a pleader to attend the hearings in future on his behalf.

The judge also allowed an application of former chief minister Hamza Shahbaz for exemption from personal appearance before the court during Tuesday’s hearing.

The judge adjourned further hearing in the case till Oct 25 and summoned prosecution witnesses for their cross examination.

In the money laundering reference, NAB alleged that the family members and benamidars of PM Sharif received fake foreign remittances of billions of rupees in their personal bank accounts.

Shehbaz Sharif has already been granted permanent exemption from personal appearance in the references of Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2022

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