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Money laundering: Court issues notice to Shehbaz on plea for bail cancellation

LAHORE, A special court on Saturday issued notice to Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif for April 4 on an application, filed by Federal Investigation Agency ( FIA) for cancellation of his interim bail in money-laundering and sugar scam.

The court sought arguments from parties on the application, on the next date of hearing.

Special Judge Central Ejaz Hussain Awan conducted the proceedings on an application, filed by the FIA.

An FIA prosecutor submitted an application for interim bail cancellation of Shehbaz Sharif, saying that the accused was lingering the matter as he remained absent on many occasions on the pretext of ailment or political engagements. He submitted that such actions were absolutely not justified and a mockery of the law.

He submitted that the accused remained absent from the court on last hearing, March 25, and filed application for exemption from personal appearance, which was accepted by the court.

The prosecutor argued that as per Islamic traditions, no one was exempted from appearance in the court whereas the Federal Shariat Court had declared  the law as void, which gave exemption from personal appearance before the courts to the Parliamentarians during assembly session. He submitted that as per assembly rules, no relief of absence was available to the parliamentarians from the court in criminal cases.

He submitted that Shehbaz Sharif’s counsel did not appropriately assisted the court on March 25 for obtaining impunged orders of extension of interim bail. He pleaded with the court for recalling its orders of extending interim bail of Shehbaz Sharif and dismiss his bail application.

However, the court observed that it could not review interim bail orders, adding that the FIA could approach the high court, if not satisfied with the orders.

To which, the prosecutor submitted that if illegal orders were passed, then the court had the authority to correct the same. The court observed that it could not pass any orders on the application without hearing the other side and denied request of immediately recalling its orders of extending interim bail of Shehbaz Sharif.

Subsequently,  the court issued notices to Shehbaz Sharif for April 4 and sought arguments from parties on the application.

Shehbaz Sharif had obtained interim bail from the court in money laundering and sugar scam.

Earlier, the case had been transferred from the special court for banking offences to the special court (Central-I) after the question of the courts’ jurisdiction was decided on Jan 14.

The FIA had filed challan against Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz and others in money laundering and sugar scam.The FIA nominated Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz as the main accused, besides benamidars and others.

Shehbaz Sharif and his sons – Hamza and Suleman – were booked by the FIA in Nov 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of PPC and 5(2) and 5(3) of Prevention of Corruption Act and r/w 3/4 of Anti Money Laundering Act. Suleman is absconding and residing in the UK.

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