PM Shehbaz, CM Hamza appear before court in money laundering case

Salman Shehbaz's arrest warrants issued: Shehbaz says cases against him politically motivated, seeks acquittal: Court admonishes superintendent police for disturbance outside court : Ashiyana Housing case adjourned till June 4

By: News Desk
Published: 10:41 AM, 21 May, 2022
PM Shehbaz, CM Hamza appear before court in money laundering case
Caption: TV grab.
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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz appeared before the FIA Special Court in Lahore in money laundering and fake accounts cases on Saturday, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The court, headed by Special Judge Central Ijaz Hassan Awan, was hearing petitions filed by Shehbaz and Hamza seeking acquittal in the Ramazan Sugar Mills case. 

The court was also hearing their interim bail petitions in money laundering and fake accounts cases.  

The Ashiyana Housing Society case against PM Shehbaz would also be heard today by an accountability court

The FIA special court summoned Shehbaz and other accused to indict them today. 

During the hearing, Prime Minister Shehbaz came to the rostrum. He told the court that the authorities had conducted an inquiry against him through the National Crime Agency, London but the agency couldn’t find anything against him. 

“The NCA continued its probe for two years but it could not prove corruption of even a penny against me. I lived in the UK and did business over there,” Shehbaz said adding that cases against him were politically motivated. 

Shehbaz said that he selflessly served the country for ten years and did not even accept a salary for it. Even I made government trips out of my own pocket to save public money, Shehbaz lamented adding that now he was standing in the dock facing false corruption cases against him. 

During the hearing, the judge of the special court asked the law officer to set aside the case of three accused involved in this reference who were not present in the country.

The FIA prosecutor requested the court that the accused who had fled the country, an action should be taken against them. 

Accepting his request, the judge issued bail-able arrest warrants for Shehbaz's son Salman Shehbaz, Malik Maqsood and Tahir Naqvi. 

FIA prosecutor Farooq Bajwa also prayed to the court to indict other accused involved in the money laundering case

The court earlier during the hearing had reserved its verdict on declaring accused Tahir Naqvi, Salman Shehbaz, and Malik Masood as proclaimed offenders. 

Lawyer Amjad Pervaiz appeared before the FIA special court on behalf of Shehbaz Sharif and gave his arguments against the indictment of the latter.

 He argued that there was no need to arrest Shehbaz. He prayed to the court to grant bail to Shehbaz as he had to come to the court again and again. 

Mr Pervaiz said that the FIA made a false case against Shehbaz. It’s nothing but an Arabian tale, he added. 

The court also sought more arguments from the lawyers on the interim bails directing them to complete their arguments by the next hearing and adjourned the case till May 28. 

The FIA registered cases against 16 accused including Shehbaz and Hamza alleging that they were involved in Rs16 billion money laundering through Ramazan Sugar Mills. The Sharifs and others were facing corporate fraud charges. 

Both the father and son termed FIA cases against them bogus and baseless. 

Court chides SP  

Earlier, the administration stopped media persons, lawyers and other petitioners/accused from entering the special court. However, the court took notice of it and directed the security officials not to stop these people from entering the building.

At the outset of the hearing, the FIA special court was told about the absence of the accused because security officials barred them from entering the courtroom. 

After hearing this, the judge got annoyed and summoned SP Safdar Kazmi. The judge admonished him, wondering how the police could disturb the entire judicial proceedings in the name of providing security. The judge expressed his exasperation saying that the accused were standing outside and the court was hearing their case. 

The judge directed the lawyers and accused who were refused entry to register a complaint against the police in the court

On this, Prime Minister Shehbaz rued that the security officials did not even let him enter the court. I was stopped outside the court, he added. 

He said he would talk to Hamza about the security fiasco today and would ask him to hold an inquiry into it. 

On this, the judge asked PM Shehbaz to issue an order right from there as he was the prime minister of the country. 

Judge Awan remarked that he (Shehbaz) was prime minister and it was his responsibility to maintain law and order everywhere. 

You (PM) should give direction right away from this place as who is responsible for this chaos, the judge asked the premier adding that his car too was stopped by the security people. 

The fumed judge said that he would pass an order in this regard. 

The court summoned SP Security Safdar Kazmi and admonished him for creating disturbance outside the courtroom.

The SP, however, extended his apology over the incident. 

Ashiyana Housing case adjourned till June 4 

Meanwhile, the accountability court on Saturday adjourned the Ashiyana Iqbal Housing case till June 4.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif completed his attendance after appearing before the court.

NAB prosecutor Asad Ullah Malik presented two witnesses during the hearing. However, due to some engagement by the lawyer of Shehbaz Sharif, cross-examination of the witnesses could not be held. 

The court, while adjourning the case, summoned NAB witnesses again on the next hearing. 

Reporter Jamaluddin Jamali