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LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday arrested Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif after the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected his pre-arrest bail in the money laundering case.

The NAB will produce Shehbaz Sharif before an accountability court on Tuesday (today) to seek his physical remand.

A division bench comprising Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem and Justice Farooq Haider heard the arguments at length and dismissed the petition as withdrawn. The court granted permission to the legal team of the PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif as it sought to withdraw the petition.

Earlier, the counsel of Shehbaz Sharif reiterated his arguments that the arrest after the filing of the reference was beyond any reason.

The counsel at a court query said copies of the reference had been distributed among the suspects and the process for the indictment was in progress. He also alleged that the government wanted to see Shehbaz behind the bars before the upcoming local bodies' election.

His counsel said that the petitioner was not answerable for the deeds of his children as they were not dependent on him. He said as per the judgments of the superior courts the onus to prove the allegation of "benamidar" was on the prosecution.

He said the NAB failed to attach any documentary evidence against Shehbaz Sharif with reference. He further said that none of prime prosecution witnesses and the 'approvers' gave any statement against Shehbaz.

He said the NAB had not accused Shehbaz of being owner of his children's properties till he filed the petition for the pre-arrest bail. He said the bureau changed its stance after reading the contents of the petition and asked for confirmation of the bail.

NAB Special Prosecutor in reply said Shehbaz Sharif had cooperated with the investigation team after he was granted pre-arrest bail by the court.

Rejecting a claim of Shehbaz, he said the investigation to the extent of the petitioner was still in progress. The prosecutor said Shehbaz and his family members failed to respond to a questionnaire sent by the NAB.

The court after hearing the arguments, reserved its verdict and announced the same after few minutes. The LHC had granted the bail to Shehbaz on June 3 and kept it extending till September 28.

Previously, Shehbaz was arrested on October 5, 2018 in Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme and later in Ramzan Sugar Mills case. The LHC had released him on bail in both cases on February 17, 2019.

Senior leadership of the PML-N and hundreds of workers remained present in the court's premises until the NAB officials took the custody of Shehbaz and shifted him to the NAB office.

The workers chanted slogans against the government on the arrest of the party's president.

A heavy contingent of police was deployed in and outside the court to deal with any untoward incident on arrest of Shehbaz Sharif.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020