Extension in Shehbaz Sharif’s interim bail frustrates NAB 'arrest plan'
A team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was on Thursday left high and dry outside the Lahore High Court (LHC) where it was all prepared to pick up PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif who came to court seeking extension in his bail in assets beyond means and money laundering case, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
A two-judge bench of the LHC comprising Justice Sardar Ahmed Naeem and Justice Farooq Haider was hearing the case.
The NAB was all set to net the former Punjab chief minister expecting the court will cancel the interim bail but much to their chagrin the court ruled in Shehbaz Sharif’s favour, forcing the NAB to withdraw their vehicles parked outside the LHC, including an armoured personnel carrier (APC).
Sensing the gravity of the situation, the police brought in water cannons and deployed heavy contingents in and around the LHC to avoid any untoward incident. The case hearing was started with NAB lawyers and Shehbaz Sharif’s presenting arguments and counter-arguments before the bench.
The hearing was adjourned for 45 minutes and the court resumed it at 12:15pm.
In their arguments, Shehbaz’s lawyers said their client had come from London to face courts. “The NAB put his name on the ECL with ill-intentions,” said counsel Amjad Pervaiz.
He said the Supreme Court had in a recent judgment ruled that if a reference is filed then what use of an arrest.
He said the case is in court but still the adviser to the PM on accountability gave a presser on Wednesday on the issue.
“Shehbaz Sharif came back to face NAB action and to surrender before the authorities and he went abroad only for his treatment,” Shehbaz’s other lawyer Azam Nazir Tarrar said.
Tarrar said, “What will the prosecution get if Shehbaz Sharif will be arrested today as reference has been filed and the trial has started.”
Tarrar argued Shehbaz Sharif's arrest will harm his party. “People say local government elections are coming so Shehbaz Sharif should be put in jail so that his rivals can get an open field to play. He is being targeted for revenge.”
The PML-N President in a conversation with the judges said “I wanted to come back to my people and to surrender before the authorities.”
Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem asked Amjad Pervaiz to complete his arguments in four days and adjourned the hearing until Monday.
Talking to media persons, Shehbaz Sharif when asked about Sheikh Rashid’s prediction of splitting Pakistan Muslims league-Nawaz (PML-N) into “sheen” and “meem”, he said, “Sheikh Rashid himself has become Sheen for quite a long time.”
As soon as the news broke out of courtroom the PML-N workers were jubilant and they raised slogans against the government and the NAB.
Talking to journalists, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah said Shehbaz Sharif is innocent. “He be being targeted with worst victimization. Now, there is no doubt that this government is being run through NAB,” he remarked.
Saad Rafique told newsmen that NAB cases are a pack of lies and fraud.