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LAHORE: A full bench of the Lahore High Court is set to hear a petition for post-arrest bail of Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in money laundering reference on April 21 as a division bench had given a split decision on it.

Justice Ali Baqar Najafi would head the three-member full bench with Justice Alia Neelum and Justice Syed Shahbaz Ali Rizvi.

Previously a unanimous order was issued by a division bench comprising Justuce Sardar Mohammad Sarfraz Dogar and Justice Asjad Javed Ghural.

However Justice Dogar who headed the bench said in his order, “unanimous order regarding grant of bail was announced” but when the short order for the petitioner’s release was placed before Justice Ghural for signature he disclosed that he intended to give his dissenting view.

“Therefore we are rendering separate orders and after completion of the same, matter shall be placed before the chief justice for nomination of a referee judge, said the head of the division bench.

Justice Asjad Javed Ghural however dismissed the same on merits.

In his dissenting order, Justice Ghural also accused the senior judge of issuing the bail granting short order ‘unilaterally’.

Justice Ghural remarked that the assets acquired by the petitioner in the name of his family through fake and forged TTs, which was found disproportionate to the known sources of his income by the NAB, brought a bad name to the country.

The matter was therefore sent to the chief justice for nomination of a referee judge.

The chief justice, however, constituted a three-judge full bench to decide the petition afresh.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested Shehbaz on September 28, 2020.

In this reference six out of ten indicted suspects have already been released on post arrest bail including Shehbaz’s son Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz, Muhammad Mushtaq Cheeni, Shahid Rafiq, Aftab Mahmood, Fazal Dad Abbasi and Shoaib Qamar.

Shehbaz’s wife Nusrat, son Suleman, daughter Rabia Imran and son-in-law Haroon Yousaf have been declared absconders in the reference by the trial court.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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