Suleman Shehbaz, the absconding son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, returned to Pakistan in the early hours of Sunday after four years of self-exile in London, according to the PML-N.
His return comes days after the Islamabad High Court barred the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and NAB from arresting him in an assets-beyond-means reference, while hearing his petition for protective bail that would enable him to surrender before a trial court.
Suleman had been in London with his family since 2018 when the National Accountability Bureau (FIA) registered multiple cases against him ahead of the general election and he left Pakistan after appearing in a few hearings.
Today, the party’s official Twitter account shared a video of Suleman returning home and meeting his father deferentially before giving him a hug. In the video, PM Shehbaz can be seen putting a garland on Suleman.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) Attaullah Tarar can also be seen in the video.
He also shared the same video captioned: “Allahu Akbar, Alhumdulillah, SulemanSharif is back!”
Ahead of his return, Suleman issued a statement in which he said that he was forced to leave Pakistan for the sake of his safety after “fake and manipulated cases” were registered against him and his family in order to “facilitate a new political order”.
He termed the cases the “worst example of political witch-hunt and political victimisation” and claimed they were “cooked up by the National Accountability Bureau under the former NAB chairman Javed Iqbal and the Assets Recovery Unit”.
Cases against Suleman
In June 2020, the NAB had seized Suleman’s shares amounting to Rs2.0 billion in 16 companies along with cash worth Rs4.1 million held in three bank accounts as well as 10 marlas agricultural land and pieces of land spreading over 209 kanals.
NAB had also alleged that assets worth Rs3.3b had been identified back then as illegally accumulated by Suleman, his brother Hamza Shehbaz and their father Shehbaz Sharif.
According to the FIA report submitted to the court in December 2021, the investigation team “detected 28 benamidar accounts of the Shehbaz family through which money laundering of Rs16.3bn was committed from 2008-18. The FIA examined a money trail of 17,000 credit transactions.
Arrest warrants had been issued for Suleman on May 28 but the FIA told the court they could not be executed since he was not present at his address and had gone abroad.