Lahore High Court interim orders on Shahbaz Sharif bail petition in assets beyond means case
LAHORE :A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench on Monday extended interim bail of Opposition Leader In National Assembly Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in assets beyond means and money laundering case till September 22. The bench, headed by Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem, heard the pre-arrest bail petition, filed by Shehbaz Sharif.
As the proceedings started, Shehbaz Sharif, along with his counsel Azam Nazir Tarar and Amjad Pervaiz , appeared before the bench whereas Special Prosecutor Syed Faisal Raza Bukhari appeared on behalf of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Advocate Azam Tarar argued before the bench that the bureau had filed a reference against Shehbaz Sharif in assets beyond means and money laundering case before an accountability court. He requested that the reference should be made part of the record, adding that a civil miscellaneous application had been filed for the purpose. To which, the NAB prosecutor submitted that the bureau did not have any objection over it and the reference would be placed on record.
The petitioner's counsel submitted that the bureau had not provided grounds for arrest, adding that the same should also be placed on record. He submitted that Shehbaz Sharif remained in the bureau custody but the money laundering case was not initiated at that time.
At this stage, Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem asked the petitioner's counsel Azam Nazir Tarar to start his arguments.
However, the counsel submitted that the grounds of arrest were important as he could not proceed further in its absence. The bench asked the NAB prosecutor why the bureau wanted to arrest Shehbaz Sharif.
The prosecutor stated that investigations were in progress in the money laundering case while submitting warrants for arrest of Shehbaz Sharif. He submitted that Shehbaz had properties abroad but he failed to disclose their sources. He submitted that Shehbaz Sharif had told the bureau that he would provide details after his visit abroad.
However, Shehbaz Sharif stated that the bureau officials had told him that the investigations had been completed to his extent. At this, Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem asked the petitioner's counsel to start his arguments, adding that the court would seek grounds of arrest and reply, if it considered necessary.
Shehbaz Sharif's counsel Advocate Amjad Pervaiz stated that the NAB Punjab director general approved an inquiry into 56 public sector companies illegally while using the NAB chairman powers. He submitted that Shehbaz Sharif appeared before the bureau in Ashiana housing inquiry despite being chief minister Punjab and got recorded his statement.
He stated that the bureau launched investigations into Ramzan Sugar Mills case on July 4, 2018 and then Shehbaz Sharif was summoned in Saaf Pani case, but he was arrested in Ashiana Housing case. He stated that the bureau had launched investigations against Shehbaz in assets beyond means case in January 2018 whereas It received a Financial Monitoring Unit report regarding suspected transactions on Oct 23, 2018.
He submitted that the Lahore High Court granted bail to Shehbaz Sharif in Ashiana and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases in February 2019 but his name was included in the exit control list which was later removed on the directions of the high court. He questioned why NAB did not investigate Shehbaz Sharif in assets beyond the means case whereas he was in its custody.
He submitted that Shehbaz Sharif appeared before the bureau in assets beyond means and money laundering inquiry on being summoned. He stated that the bureau had on June 2 summoned Shehbaz Sharif whereas the Lahore High Court granted interim bail to him on June 3. He stated that the NAB chairman had issued arrest warrants for Shehbaz Sharif on May 28 but the same was not disclosed .He submitted that his client was regularly appearing in the Lahore High Court and accountability court.
At this stage, the court adjourned the matter till Sept 22 and asked the petitioner's counsel to continue his arguments on the next date of hearing.
Shehbaz Sharif, through his petition, submitted that the bureau had launched an investigation against him over charges of assets beyond means and money laundering. Shehbaz Sharif submitted that he extended full cooperation with NAB authorities and appeared before the investigation team on being summoned. He submitted that he extended full cooperation and furnished all record. He expressed apprehension that the bureau might arrest him. He pleaded with the court for grant of pre-arrest bail in the case.
The NAB had also filed a reference against Shehbaz Sharif family before an accountability court in the money laundering case. Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz, Salman Shehbaz, Nusrat Shehbaz, Rabia Imran, Javeria Ali, Nisar Ahmad Ali, Ahmad Khan, Syed Muhammad Tahir Naqvi, Qasim Qayyum, Rashid, Masroor Anwar, Muhammad Usman, Fazal Dad, Muhammad Shoaib Qamar, Haroon Yousaf Zai have been named accused in the reference comprising of 55 volumes. According to the reference, the whole family committed massive money laundering of Rs 7 billion. Yasir Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmad, Shahid Rafique and Aftab were made approvers in the reference