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Pakistan

LHC grants bail to Hamza Shehbaz in money laundering case

  • He submitted that after the completion of the investigations, the reference was filed in 2020.
Published February 24, 2021

LAHORE: A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench on Wednesday granted bail to Opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz in assets beyond means and money-laundering case.

The bench directed Hamza Shehbaz for submitting two surety bonds of Rs10 million each to avail the relief.

The two-member bench headed by Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar heard the post-arrest petition filed by Hamza Shehbaz.

During the proceedings, NAB Prosecutor Faisal Bukhari resumed his arguments and stated that Hamza Shehbaz possessed assets of few lac rupees in 2003 whereas his assets reached to Rs 537 million in 2018, besides illegal transactions of millions of rupees in his accounts.

He submitted that the bureau launched investigations into the matter during the PML-N government tenure and notices were served to Hamza but he did not provide any reply about the amount.

He submitted that after the completion of the investigations, the reference was filed in 2020. He submitted that 20 persons were nominated as accused in the reference whereas six had absconded proceedings and four became approves.

The prosecutor submitted that the trial court indicted the accused on November 11, 2020, and the trial was still in process. He submitted that Hamza Shehbaz received telegraphic transfers (TTs) of Rs 81 million from abroad but he failed to provide any details about the source.

At this stage, the NAB prosecutor produced a chart about the money laundering and claimed that a money laundering network was being run from the Model Town office. He submitted that the TTS were made on the names of Nusrat Shehbaz, Hamza Shehbaz, Javeria Ali, Rabia Imran and Salman Shehbaz .

He submitted that after receiving the TTS, Hamza Shehbaz and Salman Shehbaz made investments at various places.

He argued that Mushtaq Chini transferred fake loans of millions of rupees in Hamza Shehbaz accounts whereas amounts were also transferred from fake accounts of milk sellers and others.

He submitted that Hamza Shehbaz was beneficiary of the money laundering, adding that merits were also considered in such case besides hardship.

He submitted that counsel for Hamza obtained three adjournments in the trial and it would definitely result in delay of the trial whereas the bureau had not sought a single adjournment yet .

While concluding his arguments, the prosecutor pleaded with the bench to dismiss the bail petition of Hamza Shehbaz, adding that the LHC had previously dismissed the post arrest bail of Hamza Shehbaz in the case.

The bench, on conclusion of arguments by the parties, granted post arrest bail to Hamza Shehbaz and directed for submitting two surety bonds of Rs 10 million each for the purpose.

It is pertinent to mention here that counsel for Hamza Shehbaz had completed his arguments a day ago. He submitted that the conclusion of the trial was not within sight in the near future, hence, his client was entitled to relief of bail on hardship basis.

Hamza Shehbaz was arrested on June 11, 2019 in connection with assets beyond means and money laundering case. Hamza Shehbaz had also previously approached the LHC for bail but the plea was dismissed on February 11, 2020. The Supreme Court had also dismissed Hamza Shehbaz's bail plea for not being pressed on January 22, 2021.

Besides Hamza Shehbaz, Shehbaz Sharif, Javeria Ali, Fazl Dad Abbasi, Rashid Karamat, Muhammad Usman, Masroor Anwar, Nisar Ahmad, Shoaib Qamar, and Qasim Qayyum had been indicted by the trial court in the case. However, Salman Shehbaz, Nusrat Shehbaz, Rabia Imran, Syed Muhammad Tahir Naqvi, Haroon Yousaf Zai and another could not be indicted due to their abscence.

In a reference, comprising 55 volumes, the bureau had alleged that Shehbaz Sharif family committed massive money laundering of Rs 7 billion. Yasir Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmad, Shahid Rafique and Aftab were made approvers in the reference.

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