LAHORE, March 1: An Anti-Terrorism Court on Saturday acquitted PML-N president Mian Shahbaz Sharif in the 1998 Sabzazar ‘shootout’ case.

The PML-N leader was declared an absconder in the case in which four people were allegedly killed by police in custody.

A returning officer had disqualified Shahbaz Sharif from contesting the Feb 18 election citing the Sabzazar case as one of the reasons.

“I am satisfied of the innocence of Mian Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif,” complainant Saeeduddin told ATC judge Shabbir Hussain Chatha.

The complainant had accused Mr Sharif of allowing the Sabzazar police, in his capacity as the chief minister of Punjab, to kill his son along with other men in a staged encounter.

It may be recalled that the complainant had offered withdrawal of the case if the accused gave an oath of his innocence but Sharif’s counsel had declined the offer with a pledge to prove his innocence on merit.

After recording the complainant’s statement, the court asked the state counsel to inform the court if he had any objection to Mr Shairf’s acquittal plea filed under Section 265-K of CrPC.

When the state counsel did not oppose the application, the judge accepted the plea and ordered clearing Mr Sharif of all the charges.

However, the case against the rest of the accused would continue.

Representing Mr Sharif, advocate Khawaja Haris said neither was there any direct evidence against his client nor had he been nominated in the original FIR.

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